Overwhelming Response to East Side Gun Club

July 3, 2012 Updated Jul 3, 2012 at 7:12 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

July 3, 2012 Updated Jul 3, 2012 at 7:12 PM EDT

BUFFALO N.Y (WKBW) The newly restarted Dorie Miller Rifle and Pistol Club is named after a black WWII Navy hero who manned a ship-board gun during the Pearl Harbor attacks in 1941.

He is a fitting idol for the club that says many of its members now want to legally own a gun to protect themselves from criminals.

Buffalo's East Side neighborhood has already seen many violent crimes this year, and while membership in the new gun club is not race specific, all the current members are African-American.

The new rifle and pistol club says their main focus is on shooting sports like hunting and target shooting, but personal protection was a major consideration for many members.

"The police are all well and good, but they are not in a position to protect you 24-hours a day. So that means it falls on you, the individual, to protect yourself and your family," adds interim club president Aqiel Qadir.

The Dorie Miller Rifle and Pistol Club started accepting members in January, but membership had to be capped at 75.

They are currently waiting for their charter membership in the National Rifle Association to be approved.