Month after month, NICS checks continue to rise. FBI data shows that since 2002, NICS checks have increased every year, rising from approximately 8.5 million in that year to 19.6 million in 2012. If current trends continue, the FBI will have performed between 20 and 21 million NICS checks by the end of this year. Moreover, ammunition in self-defense calibers continues to be scarce.
It is plainly evident that more and more people are deciding what we have known for all along. The world can be a dangerous place. Having the means to protect ourselves and our families just might someday save our lives or the lives of our loved ones.
Yet the anti self-defense crowd and their sycophants in the mainstream media continue to put out the lie that more people are not becoming gun owners; rather they say, we are merely seeing existing gun owners stock up with more arms and ammunition. Typical are articles in the mainstream media based on the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey (GSS) which suggest that long term gun ownership has declined over the past four decades.
For example, CNN reports that anti-gunner Josh Sugarmann, the inventor of the term “assault rifle” said, “There is a myth pushed by the gun industry, the NRA and the trade associations for gun makers that gun ownership is up.”
John Lott has pointed out that the GSS results are inconsistent with Gallup poll results. Gallup in fact found an increase in the proportion of households reporting gun ownership from 40 percent in 1996 to 47 percent in 2012. Additionally, many gun owners may be reluctant to have it known that they own guns due to the false light in which the mainstream media portrays gun owners.
Hard evidence that the anti-gun crowd is deluded comes to us from a recent post on Gunssavelife.com detailing that Illinois firearm owners identification (FOID) card holders has increased some 33 percent over the last few years and that there is currently a 49,000 backlog in FOID applications awaiting processing. Many of these new gun owners are women, such as my former co-worker Angela, who was forced to wait some five months before Illinois granted her FOID application. Angela said she had been considering obtaining training and getting a gun for more than a year, but decided to do so after the school shooting at Newtown, Connecticut.
There are many more just like her.
At the same time the media continues to claim that gun ownership is down, they are forced to admit that gun ownership among women is climbing. I see this in my twice monthly range visits. Several years ago most people I saw shooting at the range were men. Now women shooters are much more prevalent at the range.
The number of new woman gun owners was starkly apparent to me on a recent trip to train at Front Sight, the southern Nevada firearms school of which I am a member. I train there an average of twice a year. Normally there may be two or three women in a four day defensive handgun class out of 35 to 40 students. My class this time included 14 women out of 37 students.
My class was not unique. That weekend there were seven other handgun classes of like size each with substantial numbers of female students. Several women were also in attendance taking the rifle course. In all that weekend, there were more than 500 persons learning self-defense skills, including more than 100 kids under 15 years of age enrolled in the school’s children’s and youth class.
Another couple of hundred persons rolled in on Monday for shotgun and handgun classes.
Typical of the female students was the mother and teenage daughter from Phoenix, AZ I met two days in a row at the lunch truck, each of them sporting a Glock 17 and a double magazine pouch. It turned out they were headed to Washington, DC after their class and worried whether the threatened government shutdown would stop them from visiting the various museums in the nation’s capital. Unfortunately it did.
The trend in female ownership of firearms is heartening. Most important is that women are taking responsibility for their self-protection, realizing that it is a myth that the police will actually be there to protect them in the seconds when an attack occurs.
Moreover, traditionally women have been less pro-gun than men and thus more open to accepting gun restrictions. The increase in gun ownership by women is likely to strengthen public opposition to gun control proposals as more and more women come to understand that guns in the hands of law abiding citizens save lives.
Many persons seem to have been motivated to take the plunge to gun ownership by the threat of more gun restrictions. While waiting in the departure lounge in the Las Vegas airport, I spoke to a couple from Florida who had recently purchased a Glock handgun amid all the talk of gun bans. And on the plane I was seated across from one of the flight attendants who confided to me that she was afraid of guns. However, she quickly added, “I don’t know how you feel about politics, but I don’t trust Mr. Obama. I’m a Constitutionalist. I have a Sig.”