(KRON) — During the pandemic and in the months that followed, we saw gun sales spike to levels we had never seen before across the U.S. We also saw a new group of gun owners emerge — Black women.

KRON4’s Reyna Harvey met with a group of local women who explained why they decided gun ownership and education were no longer an option, but a necessity.

The women came together from different walks of life and for a multitude of reasons to learn a skill many of them never imagined they would need. For many, it was the first time they’d ever held a gun. For others, it’s a harsh reminder of what it means to take accountability for your own safety.

Nathan Jones is the president of the Bay Area chapter of the Black Gun Owners Association. He hosts a queens-only event aimed at creating a safe space for Black women to safely learn how to use guns in the Bay Area. He says the landscape of gun ownership looks vastly different today.

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“There used to be a cliché of who the typical gun owner changing really rapidly, and the largest growing sector of new gun owners are Black women, and that’s nationwide,” he said.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, gun sales for Black Americans rose 58 percent in 2020, a year of rising racial tension, protests against police brutality and an unsettling increase in local crime and mass shootings.

In 2021, the NSSF reported there was an 87 percent increase in gun ownership among Black women. Add all of this together, and you had many women feeling the need to play a more active role in protecting themselves.

Jones says the women meet several times out of the year. Watch the video in the player above to hear their story.