According to experts on firearms in New Mexico, Indian nation residents see gun ownership as a means to solve ongoing safety issues.
Joe Talachy, a tribal official for the Pueblo of Pojoaque, runs Indigenous Arms 1680 Ltd. Co., a gun shop and training facility where residents may prepare for the unexpected. Many Native American men and women have turned to Talachy for self-defense training.
The U.S. Concealed Carry Association instructors teach various shooting and self-defense courses at the gun store. An estimated 23 million weapons were sold nationwide in 2020, and over 21 million background checks were performed. Each month, his lessons attract between fifteen and twenty new students, and he has taught hundreds of people since he first opened. Women’s growing interest in gun ownership reflects a societal shift away from accepting victimization and toward seeing firearms as a tool for creating an even playing field in conflict.
Derek Gutfrucht, New Mexico’s account manager, says more and more women are taking shooting lessons because they understand the independence and safety a gun can provide.
The USCCA’s self-defense training programs can make communities safer and give people more control over their security. Eighty-four percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women experience abuse in their lifetime, a problem that has persisted in tribal territories.
Over 650 Native Americans were reported missing in New Mexico and the Navajo Nation between the middle of July 2022 and the middle of April 2021; the FBI has provided 192 identities of those verified missing.
Native Americans account for around 10% of New Mexico’s total population of 2.1 million.
For the USCCA, teaching Americans how to defend themselves means focusing on programs that aid the families of Indigenous people who have gone missing or been killed. With over 10,000 teachers, the USCCA can cater to many students and provide them with the skills they need to protect themselves and others from harm.