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Gun Sales Surge Continues with Diverse Interest in Firearms

Monday, June 7, 2021

Gun Sales Surge Continues with Diverse Interest in Firearms

Strong gun sales continued in May, with FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System data showing nearly 1.3 million background checks were conducted pursuant to firearms sales last month. Moreover, the FBI conducted a total of 3.2 million firearm-related background checks of all types – including checks for NICS exempt firearm permits that allow holders to purchase firearms without an additional background check for the next five years. The number of firearm sales checks represents the second-highest May on record, following only the massive firearm-buying surge experienced in May 2020. 

Since the surge in gun-buying began at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, those in the firearms industry and even the reluctant news media have made two important observations: (1) The increase in gun purchasing included many first-time gun buyers; (2) Those purchasing firearms did not conform to stereotypes about the “typical” American gun owner

In February, firearm industry trade group the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) released data on the firearm sales increase based on a survey of Federal Firearm Licensees (gun dealers). A press release explained “NSSF estimates that 40 percent of those gun sales were for first-time gun buyers, totaling 8.4 million new gun owners in the United States in 2020.” The item went on to note, “Firearm ownership is also increasingly diverse as sales among women accounted for 40 percent of all sales, and purchases by African Americans increased by 56 percent compared to 2019.

In the early months of the pandemic, the legacy press was forced to cover the increase in gun sales and the diversity of those choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights 

In March 2020, the San Francisco Chronicle shared the story of Petaluma, Calif. gun shop owner Gabriel Vaughn, who told the paper "about 90% of his customers in recent days have been first-time gun buyers." That same week, the New York Times reported that "Some dealers said an unusually high proportion of sales have been to first-time gun buyers."

On May 29, the New York Times added to the growing understanding of America’s ongoing and diverse gun-buying surge by reporting on new data from a survey conducted by Northeastern University and the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. While the figures reported were not quite the same as those presented by NSSF, the information painted a picture of a growing and diverse group of gun owners.

Summarizing the findings, the Times explained,

about a fifth of all Americans who bought guns last year were first-time gun owners. And the data, which has not been previously released, showed that new owners were less likely than usual to be male and white. Half were women, a fifth were Black and a fifth were Hispanic.

Adding an anecdote, the New York Times noted,

Many gun store workers reported that last year set records for sales and also that they noticed different types of buyers walking in the door. Thomas Harris, a former law enforcement officer who works at the gun counter at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Roanoke, Va., said that around March last year, the customers he would speak with began to include more white-collar workers, such as people from insurance firms and software companies. He said many of the buyers were not conservative and most had never handled a gun.

With even the gun confiscation proponents at New York Times acknowledging the diverse face of gun ownership in America, anti-gun activists and politicians should take note. The ugly prejudices and stereotypes they share and employ to attack the gun community do not comport to reality and their bigoted campaign becomes more transparent all the time.

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Louisiana: House Passes Constitutional Carry, Now Headed to Gov. Landry’s Desk for His Signature

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Louisiana: House Passes Constitutional Carry, Now Headed to Gov. Landry’s Desk for His Signature

Today, the House voted 75-28 to pass Senate Bill 1, the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation that passed the Senate last week.

Washington: Two Anti-Gun Bills Advance Through the Legislature

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Washington: Two Anti-Gun Bills Advance Through the Legislature

On Tuesday, February 27th, HB 2118, the “FFL Killer” passed the Senate, and SB 5444, "sensitive places" expansion, passed the House. Both bills were amended in the second chamber and now must return to their ...

Minnesota: Two Anti Gun Bills Scheduled to be Heard in Committee

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Minnesota: Two Anti Gun Bills Scheduled to be Heard in Committee

On Thursday February 28th at 10:30 am, House File 601 and House File 4300 will be heard in Room 200 of the State Office Building by the Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee and the Children and ...

Colorado: Anti-Gun Bills Continue to Move through the State Legislature

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Colorado: Anti-Gun Bills Continue to Move through the State Legislature

Two anti-gun bills continue to move in the Colorado State Legislature. HB24-1174, introduced by Majority Leader Monica Duran (D-HD 23),  is set to be heard next week in the House Finance Committee. HB24-1310 , introduced by ...

Maine: PETITION: Stand with Maine Gun Retailers

Monday, February 26, 2024

Maine: PETITION: Stand with Maine Gun Retailers

Gun Control groups are launching an all-out assault on the Second Amendment in Maine. Their most recent tactic?

South Dakota: Enhanced Conceal Carry Legislation Headed to Governor Noem's Desk

Thursday, February 29, 2024

South Dakota: Enhanced Conceal Carry Legislation Headed to Governor Noem's Desk

On February 27th, Senate Bill 203 received final passage on the House floor on a vote of 62-8. The legislation will now head to Governor Noem's desk for her consideration.

Michigan: “Gun-Free Zone” Legislation Passed in the Senate

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Michigan: “Gun-Free Zone” Legislation Passed in the Senate

House Bill 4127 and House Bill 4128, legislation that would restrict law-abiding gun owners in and around polling places, which includes ballot drop boxes, passed out of the Senate will be sent back to the House ...

Ohio: Gun Owner Credit Card Privacy Bill Passes the Senate

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ohio: Gun Owner Credit Card Privacy Bill Passes the Senate

Yesterday, the Senate Veterans and Public Safety Committee passed Senate Bill 148, The Second Amendment Privacy Act. The bill was quickly sent to the Senate floor where it passed by a vote of 25-7. This ...

Oklahoma: Pro-Gun Constitutional Amendment Strengthening the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Passes Committee

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Oklahoma: Pro-Gun Constitutional Amendment Strengthening the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Passes Committee

Yesterday, House Joint Resolution 1034, a joint resolution proposing to amend the Oklahoma constitution to provide further protections for the right to keep and bear arms, was passed by the House Rules Committee and is ...

Maine: Gun Registries, Red Flags, Universal Background Checks and more.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Maine: Gun Registries, Red Flags, Universal Background Checks and more.

It has been a busy week for Maine’s anti-gun politicians. From releasing a new bill that would implement Universal Background Checks and Red Flag laws in Maine, to Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02) pushing for a ...

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.