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Oakland woman joins Bay Area Gun Club in effort to keep herself, family safe

An Oakland woman said she and others are taking matters into their own hands in an effort to keep themselves safe. 

“At this point it’s like you do want to take matters into your own hands. I have to protect myself,” Keisha Henderson of Oakland said.

She said someone broke into her home window in east Oakland at 4 a.m. in April.

She said it took police hours to respond and feels city leadership is to blame.

“In my perspective, it is the policies and the laws that have been put in place by our city council,” Henderson said. 

Just on Sunday, Henderson, a former Oakland Public Safety Task Force member, said a group of three teens tried to steal a car from her driveway but ran when they saw her outside. 

She detailed the incident online explaining without accountability at the city level, the community has to respond by all means necessary.

“I’m not telling people to go out and start spraying, that’s not what I’m telling people to do but we also have to be realistic about what we are up against,” Henderson said. 

Safety concerns and what she says is a lack of action from the city is why she became a licensed gun owner last year.

“My protection comes first and so does my kids’. I cant afford to wait on OPD to arrive and I can’t afford to be on 911 call line for 10-15, 20-30 minutes when you have two to three individuals possibly with guns in their hands,” Henderson said.

She joined the Bay Area Gun Club and she’s not alone. 

Since the start of the pandemic, over a thousand people on social media of all races and ages ranging from 20s to 80s have signed up. The club says a majority of their clients are women living in Oakland.

“The people in Oakland are tired of being victims and rightfully so. Who wants to leave home and not come back or have some type of say so over their own mortality,” Channon Smith, the president of the Bay Area Gun Club, said.

Retired law enforcement and gun safety professionals lead the trainings. 

The group stresses their goal is to provide the knowledge of guns and the law to keep their clients safe.

“We are not out there trying to make Rambos and Ramboettes, we don’t want people walking around looking like Blade. Protect your family, protect your wellbeing and if need be, protect one another,” Smith said.

Last week, city officials announced overall crime dropped by 33% from last year this time, but Henderson doesn’t believe that’s true. 

For her, safety goes beyond being armed and falls on holding elected officials accountable.

“The power is in the hands of the community, we as a community, we as the voters, and the tax payers we are the majority not the minority,” Henderson said.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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