This is my farewell message to friends, family and coworkers in the 2 A
movement. In my twenty plus year of being in this space, I have never seen anyone actually retire. They usually die, get a mention in the NRA Rifleman, and Ammoland and that's it. Or they screw up in a media interview and get crucified by trolls and the community members that like that sort of
thing. I'm trying to go out on my own terms.
The world has changed since I started. A lot. Some good stuff has happened. And some bad. I used to call myself the Bill Cosby of the Gun Rights Movement. That isn't a good analogy now. And there were a couple of other guys that I grew up looking up to that have since gone down in flames.
Like my wife repeatedly say, don't compare yourself to anyone, just be you.
I started with nothing. I still have most of that left.
I started in 1986 wanted to be a firearms instructor for my community. I wanted to become a high paid speaker or radio personality. I wanted to leverage my creativity and entrepreneurism to become a successful business
person. I became the Black Man with a Gun (BMWAG)
The local DC Maryland and Virginia community wasn't ready for an under 30 year old African American firearms trainer. The government allowed me to moonlight and do this side activity but with a strict warning not to disclose my bona fides. I was watched. I was monitored. I had to ask permission before I traveled. When I appeared before the public they thought, how could I know anything? How dare I talk about guns when there
was the so called black on black crime, police shootings, and drug wars going on. I got beat up a lot at ranges, gun shops and churches where I tried to advertise. But I became involved in the gun community/ gun rights when I failed to make money as a trainer/instructor in 1987. Gun rights activism doesn't make money if you are honest.
Since then I have been involved in the gun debate, as it intersects firearms instruction and civil rights. I created the Tenth Cavalry Gun Club in 1991 that grew from Washington, DC, Baltimore, NJ and Illinois. The Law Enforcement Alliance of America, introduced me the show business of politics and I worked with to the NRA, GOA and SAF. The website Black Man with a Gun
debuted in 1999. I've been involved in US Supreme Court cases we have won for the 2nd Amendment even if my name isn't on it.
I learned more about myself than anything doing this stuff I had a training business, where I provided instruction and certifications in first aid, armed security and tactics. I failed in business but I pressed onward.
I started before social media and looking back I could have been a boss with that thing but I didn't.
I reached out to all the so called black leaders and announced my intentions
in the gun world. It was risky because historically, this same leaders are
anti-gun. But I went there. I tried to buy a shooting range. I got
blasted by Rev Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and local pastors.
I created a podcast in 2007 and I was embraced by the people black people
said I should beware of. The demographic that loved the BMWAG were the same
folks that are accused of racism, cronyism, and supremacy. White males were
calling me brother. They were listening to my shows. They were inviting me
and my family to events across the country. I shot historical firearms in
Tennessee. I ate at the homes of millionaires, in country clubs, and places
in Washington DC I didn't know black people were allowed in. I learned that
our country likes being divisive. I learned that racism exist mostly
because people need it as an excuse. I learned that organizations really
don't want change. I learned that people like mess, and drama. I learned
that I was a conservative.
What I enjoyed
I loved meeting people like you. I loved shooting exotic and new firearms.
I loved championing the cause of freedom. I loved being the Black Man with
a Gun. I loved mixing faith and firearms. I loved being the pastor of
patriots, pistoleros and paladins. I loved writing but podcasting was my
jam. I loved and hoped that one day I would make enough money to quit my
day job. That didn't happen by the way. I learned that my faith has
sustained me. I learned that my unique position has saved lives.
But it has had its bad side too. I've spent too much money learning, and
chasing influencers. I filed bankruptcy along this journey. I'm ok now but
I learned a lot by my mistakes. My wisdom came at a price. I almost lost
my wife on this journey. I almost got kicked out of two churches from being
pro-gun. I lost positions, promotions and opportunities at my old
government job because of my pro-gun activities. It came at a cost.
1. Civil rights award from the NRA for bringing the Eddie Eagle program
to Washington DC in a big way.
2. St Gabriel Possenti award from the Gun Dean, John Synder at the
Second Amendment Foundation
3. Creating the tenth cavalry gun Club and getting the club to shoot at
the NRA range when it was brand new
4. Meeting Charlton Heston and getting Christmas cards from him for a
5. Being the chaplain of the LEAA
6. Being a part of the concealed carry reforms across the US
7. Testifying in VA, TX, MI, WI and SC legislative houses
8. Interviewing the Gunny, Lee Ermey, Wayne LaPierre, befriending a
rabbi like Dovid and connecting with my Jewish brethren
9. Speaking in front of 20K in Albany NY
10. Meeting Donald Trump and getting a selfie in NY
11. Publishing two three books related to the my journey and the 2nd
12. Creating a website in 1999 and trademarking the name bmwag
13. Being mentioned in a movie, pros and Cons.
14. Getting a chance to audition for a pilot show on Spike TV
15. Podcasting for 12 years, 630+ episodes, sharing American history,
and introducing new generations to things they may have missed.
16. Working with over 12 industry companies and getting sponsored by
Crossbreed holsters and USCCA
17. Interviewing over 100 historical people for the podcast
I created a IG post that alerted my friends that I was retiring. It made me
sad even though I am smiling in the picture. How do you retire? I'm making
it up as I go. I have never been here before but I know it is a nice thing
to let folks know of your intentions. Like anyone, I thought about all the
things I did that didn't succeed. I started dwelling on it and had to break
out the ice cream. If you feel bad, eat a little ice cream. I learned that
from my dad. Not too much or you will look like you are always sad.
Why am I leaving?
When I got started in 2000 as the BMWAG, it was tongue in cheek. It was my
version of a shock jock. I did it with all the intentions of being replaced
by many untraditional firearms instructors, activist and clubs. We have
that. I personally know of Spanish speakers, LGBT, African Americans,
disabled vets and boat loads of women involved now. I've been the go to guy
media for law enforcement issues in the black community, religion and guns
and veterans issues as it relates to guns. Most of the time, after a
tragedy. Not good times. There have been almost a steady flow of tragedy to
respond to. If you know the media game, if you sound reasonable, truthful
and not bombastic your contribution will not be used. I think I might get
the reward for the most media nobody but the editor as seen. I'm tired of
It took me awhile to learn the game of hyperbole. On a good day, I can
crank it out like the best of them. But it's not my style. Over the years
I have learned that I am not the loudest, nor the most controversial voice
out there. I started focusing on taking care of the second amendment first
responders instead. And I still will. I care about you, your family and
where you are going.
I learned you need a team to succeed. You can be one dude on a mission as
I have been. You have to learn how to delegate. You have to inspire folks
to work for you for nothing until you can pay them. I didn't manage that.
Since 2007, I have been producing digital content. The Lord has allowed me
to create, practice narration, speak and presenting online. I was intimately
involved in the gun debate, US Constitutional issues and social causes. And
with that I am well known among the gray beards. This fight is evergreen.
I believe that this season of my life is ending and that I am to move on to
the next. I want to entertain. Teach and continue doing the needful on the
sidelines. My best work and most of my accomplishments are not online. I
have changed minds. I have saved families. I have helped veterans. I have
been a brother to those in need. I have helped mothers, grandmothers and
So how do you retire on your own terms? I figured my first step was in
letting my friends know of my intentions so it doesn't catch them off guard.
Decrease my expenses. Live modestly. Love unconditionally. Continue to
help my fellowman. I am still pro-gun, pro-rights and pro-life - my life.
If you want to find me, I will still be online, shooting recreationally,
still be singing, playing the blues, riding my motorcycle, preaching the
gospel, smiling and praising my God.
I thank all of you that have been rolling with this brother since the
beginning. I thank you for listening, downloading and subscribing to the
podcast. I thank those that reached out when they saw my IG or Facebook and
checked on a brother. It wasn't a lot of you but I noticed who you were.
Means I picked the right ones to call friend.
Special thanks and much appreciation to the Crossbreed Holsters Company and
family. We connected early and even after the passing of Mark, we stayed
connected. Carol has been a blessing.
Tim Schmidt of USCCA has been instrumental in my success too. He was a
sponsor of my podcast and 2A work long before anyone knew what social media
was. He has moved on and grown his brand exponentially
Barbara Baird of Women's Outdoor News has been like a confidant and big
sister. It is only because of her that I even got invited to blogger events
and SHOT show parties. If you saw or met me somewhere exclusive in the gun
community it was because of a connection with her.
Shout outs to American Built Arms who sponsored my internet TV show for
three months. Blanchard Outdoors.
Shout out to my Sho Nuff supporters of my Patreon account that kept me
solvent. I made a pact with the wife not to spend any family money fighting
for the RKBA and I've doing that successfully for a decade because of you.
Like Sheriff Bart said before me,
"Work here is done. I'm needed elsewhere now. I'm needed wherever outlaws
rule the West, wherever innocent women and children are afraid to walk the
streets, wherever a man cannot live in simple dignity, wherever a people cry
out for justice."
Rev. Kenn Blanchard