Rev. Kenn Blanchard is a former US Marine, federal police officer, Intel analyst, Christian pastor and gun rights activist. He is a blues singer, and produces a weekly pro-gun variety show called the Urban Shooter. He has been the recipient of the National Rifle Association’s Carter-Knight Freedom award, CCRKBA Gun Defender Award of the month (August 1997) and the St. Gabriel Possenti award.
With two decades of gun rights activism, Kenn Blanchard has been involved in almost every pro-rights event that involved a person of color. If he was not doing it personally, he probably helped in the recruiting or vetting of a plaintiff. He has lobbied the US Congress. He has testified in the state legislatures of Virginia, Texas, South Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, and Wisconsin. He has done commercials for TV against racist gun laws and been featured in four documentaries.
He has worked with the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, American Sport Shooting Council, the Second Amendment Foundation, the CATO Institute, Gun Owners of America, and others.
Narrator: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show with Jason Hartman. The economic storm brewing around the world is set to spill into all aspects of our lives. Are you prepared? Where are you going to turn for the critical life skills necessary for you to survive and prosper? The Holistic Survival Show is your family’s insurance for a better life. Jason will teach you to think independently, to understand threats and how to create the ultimate action plan. Sudden change or worst case scenario, you’ll be ready. Welcome to Holistic Survival, your key resource for protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Ladies and gentlemen, your host, Jason Hartman.
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Start of Interview with Reverend Kenn Blanchard
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Reverend Kenn Blanchard to the show. He is a former US Marine, federal police officer Intel analyst, a Christian pastor and gun rights activist. And if that weren’t enough, he’s also a blues singer and produces a weekly program variety show entitled The Urban Shooter. Kenn welcome, how are you?
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: Man, I’m doing good Jason. Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you.
Jason Hartman: Well the pleasure is all mine. Where are you located by the way?
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: I’m right outside of the district of Columbia, right in Maryland.
Jason Hartman: Alright well, it’s interesting speaking of guns, that the Supreme Court actually upheld as unconstitutional, or I shouldn’t say upheld, but found Washington DC’s gun laws to be unconstitutional a few years ago. And that pleased me a lot. I was really happy to see that. Tell me what you’re involved in. I know you’re writing a book that’s coming out before Christmas, maybe tell us about that or take it wherever you want.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: The book is actually a story of the last probably 25 years of my life. Right around 1986 I was the fire arms instructor for my agency. And I thought, man this would be a great job, and I can be just a gun guy in the community and help stop people from having accidental shootings and be a resource for the community of folks that grew up in the city and really didn’t know that much about fire arms. I had no idea about gun control and the stigmas and the fears, I was totally oblivious to the history and the political part about gun control in the United States. So you jump into a job where nobody wants your help, was an eye opening experience.
So right around ’91 after failing a couple times of just being the fly on the wall, hanging out at gun shops trying to help people, I was able to become involved in gun rights in Virginia. I spoke as kind of an expert witness to change the conceal carry laws there. And I found out that I had a new talent and nobody really knew I had, was that just as calm as I am now, is how I am in most stressful situations.
So up against a very anti-gun legislation, I spoke truth to power. And the national rifle association said hey, we’ve got something here. And at the end of that they passed conceal carry reform and sent me to Texas. And then I did well in Texas, so they sent me to Wisconsin and to Michigan and then next thing you know, I was on a circuit for a while just being a testifier, a speaker, kind of a black man with a gun. And I got involved in a political aspect and found out how much I didn’t know. So I got on fire almost like an evangelist, I wanted to show everybody about the racist roots of gun control, how people have kind of lost this art, how it’s not an alien thing, and how it just needs to be told a different way. And right around ’99 or somewhere around there, I wrote my first book, Black Man with a Gun and self-published it, and I thought I was going to go somewhere with that, but I didn’t know a lot about publishing either, so I made the cover way too scary.
Jason Hartman: What was on the cover?
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: It was a black and white picture of me in a long coat holding an automatic rifle with a US flag in distress behind me. And right around about a couple months after that book came out, there was the Columbine incident, where folks had long black coats. Bad timing. So I still was involved in a political aspect.
Jason Hartman: But you know, I’ve just got to mention something about that. That’s so interesting because some people with Columbine compared it to the movie The Matrix. And these last couple of crazy shooting incidents and so forth, Newtown, etc. that have gone on, The Obama administration and the left are so quick to blame guns and the NRA and this kind of stuff, but they never blame Hollywood. And the video game manufacturers, the movies, it’s just all over. Is it just because those people support their campaigns? Generally they lean left, and it seems so moronic. The gun is an easy target.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: The guns are easy. The gun has no personality, it can’t fight back…
Jason Hartman: It can’t defend itself without a person behind it.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: You can ban some piece of metal, that won’t change or save a life and people go for it. I’ve been kind of involved in almost every political argument, even Supreme Court testimonies, either embedding the plaintiffs or doing some background on something for the last 20 years and that’s what’s going to be in the new book, Black Man with a Gun Reloaded that you talked about earlier. It should come out right before Christmas.
Jason Hartman: It’s really crazy. Well, talk to us about the racist roots of gun control. I have a feeling I knew where you’re going to go with that, but tell us more.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: When I first got into this space, I was just a country boy that had been trained by the government to teach police officers and diplomats how to be safe. I had no clue that in the United States, gun control, all the laws were based on keeping guns out of the hands of people of color, on the very first gun laws from 1630 and almost every 30 years in a cycle have been to keep them away from black people. In the 1920s it was Italian Immigrants. It’s been Native Americans, Chinese, Black, it’s always been against somebody, some group. And that history has not been told.
And as a people, we have been culturally conditioned to fear, and rightfully so because if you got caught with even a musket ball in your possession you could get your father or brother to get pulled out of his house and hung. So we have our mothers banning guns in our house just to keep us alive. Learning all that history from the black codes, from just laws in general, that were all put toward African American people to keep guns out of their hands for fear of reprisal, for rape, for robbery, for lynching, for a whole bunch of heinous crimes. That I had no clue, and once I learned and found all of the evidence, all the laws, I wanted to tell people.
Jason Hartman: So, why do you think that is? What is the agenda behind that? It seems like so many of these high crime minority neighborhoods, you look at Chicago, incredibly strict gun control, incredible amounts of violence. I think it’s the highest murder rate in the country now. In Washington DC when they had so much gun control, you just had incredible amounts of violence. It’s just so hypocritical and counter intuitive, but do you have any beliefs as to the agenda, the reason behind this type of gun control and the racist motivation?
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: It’s easy to use fear to pass something. You don’t have to put much behind it. We have problems in our cities because of poverty, because of addictions, because of the drug culture. Those have never been fixed; we kind of lost that drug war, but the gun war is still alive and kicking. And it hasn’t stopped the violence. We have a gang problem in Chicago; it’s outrageous in Chicago. And that’s where they issue us. The guns are the tools of the soldiers. You have a futile Japan system kind of going on, and turf battles over land just like Japan had. You’ve got show guns, but these show guns are kids and they’re fighting over dope.
Same thing happened in the 90s in DC when crack hit real big here, crime has gone down because the drug problem has gone down a little bit here. It’s not about the gun, it’s about people and as we get further and further away from parenting and taking care of our families and our communities and the kids are raising themselves, they tend to go Lord of the Flies and that’s what we see, that’s where the problem is. Our criminals for the most part are the same people. You have people with ankle bracelets on their legs that are on parole that are still committing crimes. It’s the same number of people, and our criminal justice system is just a system. There’s some issues with it, so instead of us kind of fixing it, we kind of blame the guns as just an easy target and easy thing to throw out there without fixing anything.
Jason Hartman: It sure is, it sure is. It’s crazy. So what concerns you the most in terms of gun policy at the moment, or what are you working on?
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: Right now, I’m trying to continue my voice. I’m using my podcast and my website to do what I couldn’t do before. Because at first I thought, this is great. I’ve got a chance to speak all over the country, but that cost money and not everybody wants to hear me or come out to a convention or something to see me, but if I podcast it, then I can talk to smart phones, I can podcast from the safety of my basement and reach the ear buds of hundreds and thousands of people. And right now I’m building my little media business. I’m just being the next Larry King, just spreading the word. And I stretch it. I don’t just talk about guns, I talk about what matters to the people in the gun community, the people who have gone through background checks that are really good citizens, and that’s doing really well for me right now.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, well that’s great. That’s great to hear. Well tell us a little bit more about the book that’s coming out. You’re rewriting the book. Is it a complete rewrite? Or is it just a bit of an edit and obviously a cover change? You’ve got a full-fledged publisher this time around.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: Yeah, it’s a rewrite. There’s some stuff in there that I learned, like what it cost me to be the black man with a gun, what it cost me as a Christian minister, as a pastor, what it cost me as a parent, what I did differently as a father, how I had to handle my job. Who, in one minute was afraid that CNN was recording my testimony, they were afraid I was going to be the next Snowden, but before Snowden, that I was going to be a media leak in the government. So I was balancing a whole bunch of stuff, and I couldn’t put it in the first book, because in the first book I was still employed so I had to leave out a lot of juicy stuff that I’m putting in this one.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so give us a couple of those juicy things.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: One of them is, I have a section called Super Hero for my son. When my son was born and I became a father, I had a beautiful family, a daughter and a son, and I really didn’t know about fatherhood. But at the same time I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I wanted to be a provider for my family, and something I saw my son do with his action figure, he kind of carried it around the house, and I thought, I want to be a super hero for my son. I want to have him hold me like an action figure in his heart, so I actually created one. I had an action figure made for myself, and I was going to live up to that mantra as the black man with a gun, to be a provider. I was going to go past the point of father, I was going to try to be the super dad and be there for my kids, at the same time when the world thought I was probably the most violent gun in the world with a name called Black Man with a Gun, but it was a unique growth period for me of being a protector and a parent.
Jason Hartman: Very interesting. What else? What other juicy things that you added?
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: I also have a big Christian part in there. As an African American pastor, I caught a lot of grief for being pro-gun. Folks could not understand.
Jason Hartman: That kind of surprises me actually, but go ahead.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: It’s because of our culture of being, I guess, you want to be violent adverse of course, nobody likes violence. But we’ve kind of attached or assumed that if you’re a gun person you’re a violent person. And I had to break that stereotype up close. And I tell that story; there’s a part where my mother was kind of worried and she says, “I know how you are, but are you sure you’re supposed to be doing this? Doesn’t that gun make you look bad?” and I said mom, we had the same mom, our grandmother kept a loaded shotgun in the kitchen and 35 grandkids, nobody got hurt. And she was like, “oh yeah, yeah, I totally forgot that.” So these little stories, I even have to remind my parents about their parents, about our life.
Jason Hartman: Very interesting point. Guns prevent violence. They create freedom and liberty. Every oppressive government around the world, they don’t allow their people to have guns. They want to deny access to those things. That’s one of the ways that tyrants work is the first thing you’ve got to do is you’ve got to control the media, you’ve got to take the guns away. And control speech and assembly and all of that stuff. All of that stuff that’s, you know there’s a reason that the founding fathers created our constitution the way they did.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: It’s a really big piece. It’s really huge. Because anybody that would give you a gun is a brother, anybody who would take it away from you is not your friend.
Jason Hartman: But it’s hard for Americans today to really come to grips with and believe that. I don’t think any of them, well certainly people do, but most people aren’t worried about government tyranny. “Oh, that could never happen to us in America; it’s different here.” But yet it’s happened throughout history so many times, it’s almost unbelievable. The two mindsets come from where you live. If you’re in a rural area, where life hasn’t changed much, but you still have to make sure that your neighbor is okay, where the sheriff won’t come as soon as you call 911, where you have to be more autonomous, you have to be by yourself, then that is understood. It’s just a tool.
But somehow we lose freedom when we come into the cities on the west or the east coast. When you live in close proximity to each other, it feels like a level of expectation that when I cut the switch on, the lights will always come on, when I turn the water faucet, the water will always come on. And those are the cities, that when that stuff doesn’t work people will go nuts and they’ll revert back to a panic because they don’t have the same mindset of survival that the folks in the rural have. And the ones on the coast, on the east and the west coast in the bigger cities are the first ones and the loudest ones to say how this is arcane and how we don’t need it anymore, but we haven’t evolved as people. We will revert back as soon as trouble gets here.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, that’s what’s really hard for people to understand. I just don’t think the vast majority of Americans can even fathom that. They just don’t see it as a possibility, and that’s why they’re so quick to say let’s just give up the guns and we’ll never need this, and before you know it, you either have civil unrest, you have tyranny, this stuff, it’s been played throughout history so many times. Just over and over, hasn’t it?
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: It’s a fire extinguisher. We all have fire departments. We call 911 and the fire department can come, but if you have a gas fire on your house, or in your kitchen, a fire extinguisher can save your room from being totally lost. The fire arms are exactly the same way. If you have a home invader, because now the economy is getting worse, and people are getting more desperate, there’s a lot of folks out there looking to steal, kill and destroy. If you have the means to make somebody go, okay not this house, maybe the next house, it just paid for itself. It’s just a fire extinguisher, that’s all it is.
Jason Hartman: Right, the fire department can’t get there instantly. That’s the same thing. You’ve got to be responsible and have your own plan. Of course, it’s great when everything functions and they get there in 5 minutes, but that doesn’t always happen.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: I pray I never need to use any of the stuff I have, but when I need it, you need it.
Jason Hartman: It’s there. Absolutely. Good point. Well Kenn, give out your website and let people know where they can find you and learn more about you, and get the book in a few months here.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: It’s real easy. BlackManWithAGun.com is my website. And I pretty much use that name for everything. If you do a Google of black man with a gun, you’ll get me. My name is Kenn Blanchard. I use two N’s to distinguish myself from Dr. Ken Blanchard, the author of…
Jason Hartman: Who we also had on the show. The author of The One Minute Manager.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: Yeah, to not give him any grief, I put two N’s on there. But, Black Man with a Gun. You’ll find me on Twitter as Kenn Blanchard, but the site and even the podcast are Black Man with a Gun show on iTunes or Stitcher, you’ll find me there.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. Well, Reverend Kenn Blanchard, thank you so much for joining us today.
Rev. Kenn Blanchard: Thank you.
Narrator: Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival Show. Protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show, which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com or search “Jason Hartman” on iTunes. This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own, and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalized advice, please consult an appropriate professional. Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.
Transcribed by Ralph
Guest: Kenn Blanchard
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