Meet The Gun Grab Lobby's Nemesis: 11.6 million New Gun Owners

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

If you are still reeling from the happy news of President Biden pulling the plug on David Chipman’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, I have even more good news to push you over the euphoric edge.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reported this week that an estimated 3.2 Million people bought their first firearm in the first half of 2021. 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the firearm industry trade association, surveyed firearm retailers recently and estimates that over 3.2 million people purchased a firearm for the first time during the first half of 2021.

The survey was conducted to learn the buying habits and factors of this year’s firearm purchasers during the first six months of 2021. Respondents indicated that 33.2 percent of customers, or 3,247,351, purchased a firearm for the first time, based on June’s total of nearly 9.8 million background checks for a gun sale.

The number itself is staggering at its face, but if you peer into the details, there is even more interesting data:

Survey results showed that in the first six months of 2021:

Over 90 percent of retailers reported an increase of African American men purchasing firearms.

Nearly 87 percent of retailers reported an increase of African American women purchasing firearms.

Nearly 84 percent of retailers reported an increase of Hispanic-American men purchasing firearms.

Over 87 percent of retailers reported an increase of Hispanic-American women purchasing firearms.

Over 76.5 percent of retailers reported an increase of Asian-American men purchasing firearms.

Over 82 percent of retailers reported an increase of Asian-American women purchasing firearms.

1 percent of customers purchased a second firearm since their initial purchase.

5 percent of first-time gun buyers in 2021 were under 40.

Not only was there a substantial increase in the number of the nontraditional demographic groups purchasing guns, the number of young first-time gun buyers was estimated at 5%.

The pace of gun buying is slightly less than last year’s massive surge in first-time gun buyers, which the NSSF described as follows:

“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,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO. “That kind of growth validates the relevance and importance of the Second Amendment, but also speaks to an increasing need for firearm safety education. As a community of firearm owners, we all have a responsibility to use, transport and store firearms safely, and NSSF is committed to getting this information in the hands of all our newest community members.”

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.

Combining the numbers for calendar year 2020 and the first half of 2021, we’re looking at an eye-popping 11.6 million first-time gun owners.

This will have serious implications for gun control. Not only do the first-time gun buyers have “skin in the game” when it comes to their own Second Amendment rights, as they get more familiar with guns, all the relentless lies spread by the Gun Grab Lobby will be countered by their firsthand experience with the truth.

Another unstated implication is the further spreading of gun ownership as the friends of first-time gun buyers learn that it’s perfectly normal to own guns. From my personal experience, I can attest that my friends were first shocked to learn that I chose to become a gun owner, then became curious and accompanied me to the range, and now don’t think it’s perverse or weird to own guns. Some of them have also become gun owners themselves.

Gun control thrives on ignorance and that’s where the real impact is going to be. The Gun Grab Lobby’s efforts to marginalize gun ownership and gun culture will fail. There’s a saying that politics is downstream from culture (attributed to either Andrew Breitbart or Timothy Goeglein). As gun culture changes, so will politics.

I am optimistic that this is good news for our Second Amendment rights.