Scott, an African-American, is one of many minorities who have been flocking to gun stores to protect themselves, afraid Trump’s victory will incite more hate crimes.
“You feel that racists now feel like they can attack us just because the president is doing it,” one gun shop owner told NBC News.
Gun store owners told NBC News that since November 8 they’re seeing up to four times as many black and minority customers — and black gun groups are reporting double the normal number of attendees at their meetings since the election.
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Racial tension was already at a high during the election, with a spate of videoed shootings and deaths of black men by police officers, followed by ardent protests and the fatal targeting of white police officers.
In one high-profile incident, the live-streamed aftermath of the shooting of Philando Castile at a traffic stop at the hands of police in Minnesota sparked country-wide outrage and was ruled manslaughter. That and another death in Louisiana sparked a protest in Dallas, which a sniper took advantage of to kill five police officers.
From Ferguson to Chicago to Baltimore, African-Americans felt targeted and angry, sending marchers into the streets and communities on edge.
And Donald J. Trump’s surprise victory in November has done nothing to abate the racial violence — it even seems to have encouraged more open displays of hatred. More than 700 instances have already been reported to the Southern Poverty Law Center just since November 8, and LGBT hotlines are seeing an “all-time peak” in calls from people reporting harassment.
Swastikas have been found spray-painted on churches, playgrounds, and college walls. White Texas high school students chanted “Build that wall” during a volleyball game with a predominantly Hispanic rival school. Internet personality and model Tila Tequila was suspended from Twitter after she was photographed giving a “Heil Hitler” sign at a restaurant following the post-election gathering in Washington, D.C., of the National Policy Institute, an “alt-right” organization.
“It’s best that I be proactive,” said Scott, a fiery 49-year-old financial analyst. “I know where I live.”
She’s from Alpharetta, Georgia. It borders Forsyth County, which in 1912 systematically drove out nearly all its black residents for the next quarter century. After two alleged attacks on white women, a black suspect was lynched and two more were hanged after a short trial. Armed bands of whites began terrorizing blacks, torching homes and churches in night raids, firing through the door, telling them it was time to “get” [out of America] and then seized their homes and land. As recently as 1987 the county saw the marching of 5,000 white supremacists.
Scott still sees racist bumper stickers and large Confederate flags flying from the backs of pickup trucks when she ventures across the county line there to go outlet mall shopping. And she pauses to wonder what motivates her white neighbor to tuck a handgun in his pants before driving to the grocery store.
October saw 2.3 million FBI background checks for gun sales, an all-time record; and the 18th month in a row to set a new high. November could be on pace to break that.
But while gun company stocks and firearm sales saw a run-up before the election — based on fears a Hillary Clinton victory would result in increased gun-control measures — shares in gun companies fell as much as 20 percent after Trump’s win.
So, while store owners say that traffic is up overall, the new rush of minority customers arming themselves is something of an unexpected glimmer for the industry.
“They thought Trump won’t win,” said Earl Curtis, the 53-year-old owner of two Blue Ridge Arsenal gun stores and shooting ranges in western Virginia who has noticed an “uptick” in the number of black and minority customers.
Largely, says Curtis, they’re “shell-shocked” first-time shooters looking to get a handgun to protect themselves from “race riots and being attacked by racists” — afraid that what Trump and his supporters have already done is just the beginning.
Trump already had a checkered past with the black community. Though he once donated office space to Jesse Jackson’s civil rights group and hosted a NAACP party, he was also sued by the Justice Department in 1975 for refusing to rent to black people. Trump countersued for defamation, demanding $100 million, and the case was settled without admission of guilt.