We know that gun sales in the United States have been sky-high over the past couple of months, and anecdotally gun stores are reporting a huge number of first-time gun buyers. Who are these first-timers? At the Washington Free Beacon, reporter Stephen Gutowski has profiled a half-dozen new gun owners, including IT professional Scott Kane, who lives in the Bay area of California.
Receipts reviewed by the Free Beacon show Kane first purchased a firearm on March 11 from Sportsman’s Warehouse in Milpitas, Calif. Santa Clara County shut down the shop before Kane’s 10-day waiting period was complete. No end date was given for the order, but a California law giving buyers just 30 days to pick up a gun remained in effect. Kane was stuck in a legal limbo that only grew worse.
Unable to do business, the store went belly-up in May. Kane had no way to pick up his gun. He started the process over again at another store in a neighboring county. He returned home with a Springfield XD 9mm and a biometric safe on April 29, 50 days after he first passed a background check and paid for a gun.
“I’m seriously thinking of running for office or something,” Kane said. “This state’s gun laws are insane.”
Kane is one of many new gun owners who don’t exactly fit the stereotype, and that’s a great thing. The more people exercising their right to keep and bear arms, the stronger it becomes, and new gun owners can be some of our most outspoken advocates.
In St. Louis, Missouri, firearms instructor Kevin Cummings says he too has seen a lot of new gun owners, and among them, there’ve been a surprising number of healthcare workers.
“Because they’re going into these hospitals now that are closed to the public, you don’t have the normal traffic going in and out like you had before,” says Kevin Cummins, President and chief instructor at Advantage Firearms Education and Training. “So when they’re leaving, sometimes at night, sometimes during the day, they’re going into a somewhat vacant parking garage where someone could be lurking and they’ve got fears of that.”
After reading the piece at KMOX, I reached out to Rob Province, St. Louis-area healthcare worker and Second Amendment supporter, to ask him if he’s seen any increased interest in firearms among coworkers. Not only did he agree with Cummings, but he said he first noticed an increased interest a couple of years ago. The coronavirus pandemic has only been the latest peak, according to Province, in a steady uptick in new gun owners among the doctors, nurses, and other frontline healthcare workers that he knows.
As for what’s driving the interest, Province says in a word: “Instability.”
It’s just the unknown, and I think some of it has to do with people seeing that police aren’t going to protect you. The flooding in Louisiana under Bush, you had the flooding in Houston. I think people understand that when the sh*t hits the fan you have to be able to protect yourself. And there’s a sense that COVID has changed the way the world works. I think this has taught people a very valuable life lesson to be prepared.
Whether you work in IT or as an RN, you probably are feeling a little unsettled at the moment. Violent crime may be going up in your city, even before lockdown restrictions started going away, and the unemployment rate is probably higher than you’ve ever seen it in your lifetime. Does that mean that society is on the verge of collapse and it’s time to hunker down in your bunker? No, and that’s not what most of these first-time gun owners are doing. They’re simply taking a commonsense and reasonable position: I choose to be responsible for my own protection.
I know some gun control advocates try to push the idea that there’s no such thing as a pro-Second Amendment doctor or nurse, but the truth is that plenty of healthcare workers would rather buy guns than ban them, including those who work as trauma surgeons and ER nurses. That number appears to be growing by the day, and that’s a very good thing for our right to keep and bear arms.
By the way, if you happen to be one of those healthcare workers who’s recently purchased a firearm, I encourage you to check out Doctors For Responsible Gun Ownership; a group of pro-Second Amendment physicians engaged in outreach and advocacy that does some fantastic work and could always use new recruits.