According to a new study by researchers at New Mexico State University and the University of Toledo, healthcare workers were among those Americans most likely to purchase a firearm during the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, Dr. Robert Young with Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership joins me to talk about the study’s findings, as well as his own personal experience with colleagues and other medical professionals over the past few months.
A tip of the hat to the Free Beacon‘s Stephen Gutowski for first reporting on the study and its results, which Dr. Young calls “surprising.”
Researchers at New Mexico State University and the University of Toledo found that being a health care provider was one of the strongest predictors of buying a firearm during the first few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. Sixty-seven percent of people who reported buying a gun during the pandemic also reported being health care professionals.
“One of the things we should see, in my limited view, is these are people who are civilians who are not criminals and they have seen a lot of unrest in the past six months,” New Mexico State University professor Jagdish Khubchandani told the Washington Free Beacon. “And they want to be on the front foot with their own safety.”
Khubchandani said this surprising finding becomes more understandable when considered alongside the study’s other main finding: Gun-ownership demographics as a whole have shifted during the pandemic.
We know that over the past few months there’s been an influx in the number of women, racial minorities, and big-city residents who’ve purchased a gun for the first time, so it wouldn’t be surprising if that included members of those demographic groups who work in healthcare.
I will say I’m a bit skeptical that during the time that the survey asked about, 67% of gun buyers were involved in the healthcare industry in some way. The idea that 2/3rds of those standing in line to buy a gun back in March and April worked in health care in some way seems inflated, but the notion that frontline healthcare workers were suddenly more interested in buying a gun for self-defense as the lockdown orders were taking effect doesn’t strike me as unheard of.
One of the biggest questions I have is whether or not these new gun owners in the healthcare industry might have any impact on the support for gun control within that community. Over the past several years we’ve seen a big push by many doctors and other medical professionals to declare that gun violence is a “public health emergency” that can only be addressed through gun control measures. If more medical professionals are joining the ranks of gun owners, will they start to sour on the idea of banning our way to safety?
Dr. Young is hopeful that could happen, and says that he’s had several conversations over the past few months with colleagues who’ve reached out to him about purchasing a firearm for the very first time. Perhaps this is the start of a new movement away from supply-side gun controls like gun bans and licensing laws and towards efforts to reduce the demand for guns among those who use them in criminal activity instead of targeting legal gun owners with anti-gun bills and regulations.