One night in October 2016 as Paul Goldsmith Jr. was driving through the Brownsville area with his 4-year-old daughter, a deputy drove past his car, did a U-turn and pulled him over.
Goldsmith had a firearm in the car, but he had his concealed carry permit on him as well. He made sure to keep his hands on the steering wheel during the traffic stop, but his mind began racing when the deputy asked him about his identification.
To Goldsmith, the situation was frighteningly similar to that of Philando Castile, a man who was shot and killed in front of his girlfriend and 4-year-old daughter during a July 2016 traffic stop in Minnesota. Castile, a gunowner with a concealed carry permit, was shot while reaching for his wallet, according to his girlfriend, who recorded the aftermath of the incident. The officer later said he believed Castile was reaching for his gun.
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“Philando Castile got shot on Facebook Live for reaching for his wallet in his back pocket,” Goldsmith told the News Journal. “So this was on my mind that night that I had my baby in the car because my baby’s not old enough to witness or testify anything that happens.”
When the officer finally asked if he had anything dangerous in the car, Goldsmith was terrified. Saying “yes” or “no” would have consequences, so he decided to tell the police officer about the weapon. The deputy went into “defense mode,” pulled Goldsmith out of the car and detained him, Goldsmith said. Once deputies found out his record was clean and he had a concealed carry permit, they let him go. After that day, Goldsmith vowed to not have that happen to him again and shortly after became a certified National Rifle Association instructor.
Goldsmith is now the CEO of Legal Carry Inc., where he helps people from the Black community learn about gun safety and gun laws, and debunks misinformation about guns in general.
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This Saturday, in partnership with 100 Black Men of Pensacola, Goldsmith will be holding a free online training class called “Pistol Safety Training: 101 #UnderstandingFirearms.” The training will include information on the process of obtaining a legal concealed weapon license, gun safety protocols, Florida gun law, stand your ground law, purchasing a firearm and many other points.
Goldsmith sad he was glad he made it out of his encounter with law enforcement alive but worried what would have happened if other people in his family would have been in that situation.
“I worry about my son because I’ve seen many times how the media capture or a citizen captures an event, like a Philando Castile who was a law abiding citizen, concealed carry permit holder in the state of Minnesota,” he said. “He worked for the school board in his county and his jurisdiction, and he did everything he was supposed to during that law enforcement encounter and still ended up with a death note.”
According to a Pew Research Center study, about 42% of adults say they own a gun and out of that group, 24% of Black people and 15% of Hispanics say they own a gun. Overall, 73% of gun owners can’t see themselves without a gun and use it for various reasons from hunting, shooting, and self defense.
According to Goldsmith the relationship between Black people and guns has always been portrayed negatively, largely revolving around someone doing criminal activity or protecting themselves from other Black people. Goldsmith wants to change the narrative.
“I want to break the stigma of Blacks dealing with firearms when it deals with crimes or self-defense from those crimes,” Goldsmith said. “The whole racial tension thing, I mean, yes, it’s prevalent in America. Some of that is the history of America, but I think we’re in a new age, too. The America I grew up in is not the same America my grandmother grew up in.”
For more information or to register for the event go to floridalegalcarry.com and Florida Legal Carry’s Facebook.
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