A Conversation with Kenn Blanchard, “Black Man With A Gun”
Kenn Blanchard tells the story of having an edgy name. While in a men’s room, someone noticed him and called out loudly, “Hey! Black man with a gun!” The other occupants of that room immediately went on red alert, looking around for someone with a firearm.
“Nah, it’s cool,” said Blanchard. “I am known internationally because of my gun activism, website, podcast (“Black Man With A Gun”) and books.”
He earned his moniker, having served five years in the United States Marine Corp, ending his career with that military branch as an Embassy Security Guard.
“After the military, I was recruited to join the CIA and helped create the police force and many of the other protective programs still in place there,” said Blanchard, who also served as one of the first African-American members of the Director of CIA protective staff and firearms instructors.
Blanchard worked as an intelligence analyst at the CIA for several years, until recently. He continues to pastor to congregations in the Maryland/D.C. area, where he resides, as an ordained Baptist minister.
Creating “Black Man With A Gun”
The entrepreneurial bug got into Blanchard’s system and he created a training business focused on bringing minorities to the shooting sports. He founded a national shooting club for African-Americans called the Tenth Cavalry Gun Club, in 1991. As a result of his efforts, he has been awarded the National Rifle Association’s Carter-Knight Freedom award, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) Gun Defender Award of the month and the Saint Gabriel Possenti Award (Saint Gabriel Possenti is the Catholic church’s Patron Saint of Handgunners).
Blanchard launched the website www.blackmanwithagun.com in 2000. In 2007, he discovered the world of podcasting, and with more than 1.3 million downloads of his popular “Black Man With A Gun” podcast later, he continues to inspire, entertain and share pieces of history regarding firearms and minorities. His Second Amendment advocacy even brought him toe-to-toe with Rev. Al Sharpton on Sharpton’s short-lived cable TV show Sharp Talk.
What started as a hobby has become a full-time job, as Blanchard now embraces new media. And that’s not all. A dynamic speaker, he recently spoke at the New Media Expo in Las Vegas, as an expert in niche marketing. He shared the stage at the SAFE rally in Albany, New York, with Donald Trump and other magnets. Today, he produces three podcasts from his home studio, under the umbrella of the Blanchard Media Group. He has performed voiceovers for pro-gun commercials in Chicago and California and has published four book. The latest paperbalck is Black Man With A Gun: Reloaded, now available on Amazon.com and several other independent outlets as ebooks.
Now, after two decades of gun-rights activism, Blanchard believes he has been involved in almost every pro-rights event that required a person of color to show the diversity of the shooting sports around the country. He has done TV commercials against racist gun laws and been featured in four documentaries, one with the BBC. He wrote a column for New Voices Newspaper of Durham, North Carolina, and served as a director and chaplain of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America. Further work has been done with the American Sport Shooting Council, the Second Amendment Foundation, the CATO Institute, Gun Owners of America and others. The National Rifle Association’s American Rifleman featured the first edition of Black Man With A Gun. He also has been featured in the Washington Business Journal and The Wall Street Journal. He has lobbied and testified before the United States Congress and legislatures in Texas, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia and Maryland for an individual’s right to self-defense and served on the Urban Affairs and Training committees of the NRA. Blanchard also advised the creation of the NRA’s Refuse to Be A Victim program.
He Didn’t Shoot His Eye Out
Blanchard’s shooting experience began with the classic Daisy Red Ryder BB gun at the age of nine. The Marine Corps refined his training.
“Being on embassy duty changed my firearms training from the traditional to that of the State Department and DEA,” said Blanchard. It would be where he excelled, working as an instructor for the CIA.
“Being involved in the gun community has made me a better American. Because of this path I took, I have inspired thousands of people, befriended hundreds and learned so much,” he explained.
Blanchard considers himself a “battlefield chaplain” for the Second Amendment.
“The urban shooter—that includes minorities—has fewer options geographically to enter into the shooting sports and has several barriers to entry that don’t exclude the social stigma, but is a growing force,” said Blanchard. “The growth of cities will increase the number of Americans who don’t grow up hunting or being taught by parents about the heritage of firearms. Therefore, the web, podcasts and clinics are going to be the wave of the future to indoctrinate and share our important history, traditions and sport.”
Blanchard believes new media, podcasts in particular, will be the way these new shooters are first exposed to what it’s like to be outside a city and, especially, on a firing range.
“Our culture is more segmented now than ever before and people choose what groups they will identify with. The best way to reach them is where they are,” said Blanchard.
He does it one podcast at a time, one blog post, maybe even one sermon, at a time.