For years, people kind of guessed about who the average gun owner was. They were white, older, middle or upper class, and tended to vote a certain way.
Their guesses weren’t generally wrong. It wasn’t universal by any stretch, but the guys you saw going into the gun store tended to fit that mold more often than not.
However, since the pandemic, things have changed. People of all different strips started descending upon gun stores.
The media is coming to recognize this.
Janay Harris, who works at a credit card company in Dover, Delaware, enjoys the nightlife in nearby cities like Washington and Philadelphia. But starting two years ago, nights in those cities stopped feeling safe.
Her local news kept reporting violent crimes – a carjacking here, an armed robbery there. Ms. Harris saw pictures of the victims and thought they looked like ordinary people. They looked, she thought, kind of like her.
Ms. Harris decided that wouldn’t be her, but not because she’d stop going out. “I don’t want to have to be stuck in my house after a certain hour or avoid certain places because I’m fearful,” she says.
So a year and a half ago, Ms. Harris bought a gun and started visiting the shooting range. For now, it almost never leaves the house, she says, but since purchasing it she’s felt more confident and secure – even when it isn’t with her.
Ms. Harris is one of millions of Americans who have settled on firearms for their own security in the last two years. Given the pandemic, rising homicide rates, social unrest, and political violence, they increasingly feel that risks are everywhere, and declining trust in institutions means people are less likely to rely on the government for protection. Many now view self-defense as their own responsibility.
Now, this is the Christian Science Monitor. AllSides.com rates them as sitting on the center, which is rare in media these days, but this story is actually very good.
After all, you don’t see quotes from Shannon Watts or Giffords about how all these people are wrong for buying guns, or claims that increased gun ownership leads to more violent crime.
You don’t see any of that. Why? Because it’s not relevant in a story about the changing nature of gun ownership. None of the anti-gun groups represent gun owners, after all.
This isn’t the first story we’ve seen, of course. There have been others talking about how gun ownership is changing. This is a simple fact, one that we’ve watched over the last two years without a single hint this shift is slowing down in the least.
That’s a good thing.
Many of these new gun owners will, in time, become gun voters. They’ll make it even more untenable to push gun control, and since many come from demographics Democrats like to court–the same Democrats who typically push gun control–it may become untenable for them to push gun control.
If we want to preserve our right to keep and bear arms, it’s not enough to just stave off every attack. We also need to be able to make it so no one will attack our rights. If that means running afoul of the groups normally anti-gun politicians need to be elected, that will work out quite well.
That’s what we like to call “winning.”