Is this the "new average" gun owner?
Is this the “new average” gun owner? (photo courtesy of Oleg Volk)

During the Obama Presidency, new gun ownership and shooting sport participation has skyrocketed among women, young adults, and urban demographics.

Who says Barack Obama is the Second Amendment’s greatest enemy?

A new study just released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) shows that 2009-2012 were phenomenal years of growth into the shooting sports, and not only in terms of sales of firearms and ammunition.

The President’s first term saw high participation in most shooting sports, along with disproportionately higher growth rates among women, young adults in the 18-34 year-old demographic, and shooters living in urban areas.

nssf-shooting-participation-rates

The study debunks unsupported arguments by gun control advocates who have attempted to claim that firearms usage is declining.  These same anti-gun groups had suggested that the record-breaking sales of firearms and ammunition during this time-period that have seen gun stores routinely sold out of both guns and ammunition are merely the result of a vocal (and apparently rich) minority.

Instead, the study notes real trends towards both greater participation from existing shooters, and a growing number of new shooters entering the shooting sports for the first time.

There are two components of the increase: new shooters joining the sport and increased participation among existing shooters. The survey results showed that a greater percentage of shooters describe their participation as having increased (35%) than having decreased (13%) over the past 5 years, compared to before that time. Of ammunition purchasers, 41% bought more ammunition in the past 5 years compared to before that time period, while only 12% bought less.

The second component of the overall increase in shooting participation, in addition to established shooters increasing their participation, is new shooters starting to target and sport shoot. The study now examines the role that these new shooters play. The survey explored when respondents said they started shooting. Among those who target or sport shot in 2012, a fifth of them (20%) started target/sport shooting within the past 5 years, including 11% who first went target or sport shooting in 2012. These numbers represent a robust influx of new shooters.

The analysis showed the demographic groups most closely associated with these new shooters. The analysis suggests that females make up a disproportionate amount of new shooters (while only 22% of established shooters are female, 37% of new shooters are female). Additionally, people in the 18 to 34 years old age group make up about two-thirds of new shooters (they make up only about a third of established shooters). Finally, locational information about new shooters suggests that urban people play a greater role in shooting than they previously had. While urban/suburban sport shooters make up only about a third of established shooters (34%), they make up almost half of new shooters (47%). Other correlations to new shooters include not being a hunter and not shooting archery.

The trend towards more gun ownership and participation strongly suggests that Americans are voting in favor of their Second Amendment rights with their wallets, and that the gun control moment is being supported by an ever-declining core audience.