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Amid anger and grief, some Black residents of Buffalo are talking about guns

Nolan D. McCaskill, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Chiwuike Owunwanne, who works in the financial services industry, said that while he's heard conversations about having more guns, he's unsure that's the best solution.

"Simply by everyone purchasing a gun does not make everyone safe, because if that was a fact, then the security officer would be alive today, wouldn't he?" he said. "Because he had a gun. So the mere notion that by everyone having guns is going to make people safer, I think that's just a fallacy."

Some residents said that younger people in the neighborhood wanted to somehow retaliate for Saturday's attack on their community but that they've held off because families of the victims want peace.

Wayne Jones Jr., 27, lost his grandmother, 65-year-old Celestine Chaney, in Saturday's shooting. He encouraged people to get their gun permits if they feel like that's what they need to do to protect themselves. But he is more concerned about getting assault rifles off the streets.

"I'm trying to be peaceful," Jones said. "I want to be peaceful for my grandmother. That's exactly how she was."

Asked about the warnings reporters have heard from residents about the prospect of a race war if Black people on the East Side let their anger get the best of them, Boyd, the nonprofit leader, said it was a real possibility, particularly if hate continues to spread across social media.


"They keep making these threats on Facebook; there are African Americans in this community that's armed and ready, my brother, and they ain't in the military," said Boyd, who served in the Navy. "A lot of them don't have too much to live for. It's us against them, and that's how they feel.

"If it goes down," he added, "God help us. This city? Oh, this city will burn."


(Times staff writer Connor Sheets contributed reporting.)

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