INDIANAPOLIS — Standing in a small booth surrounded by displays for rifles, pistols, holsters and other firearm accouterments, the Rev. Kenn Blanchard signed copies of his book “Black Man With a Gun: Reloaded.” Amid the sea of thousands of white faces that descended on this city for the National Rifle Association convention in late April, Mr. Blanchard, an N.R.A. member since 1991, offered his reasoning for why he was one of the few black visitors.
“We still culturally have a fear that we’re going to be that lone guy out, and you don’t want to be the lone guy out,” he said, estimating that one in 100 people at the convention was black. “The exposed nail gets hammered.”
With his blog and podcasts, Mr. Blanchard is an avid proponent of gun rights and founder of the Maryland Tenth Cavalry Gun Club, a national pro-gun organization for African-Americans. And he was one of very few African-Americans comfortable enough with the N.R.A. to be hawking wares here.
At a time when gun issues are volatile nationally and sales are increasing, minority gun owners — whether black, Asian or Latino — may feel that their weighing of the practical pros and cons of gun ownership comes up against the conservatism and unyielding stances of the N.R.A. and some other gun advocates. Mr. Blanchard said it could be a difficult balancing act.