Gun sales have been on the rise for the past year with no signs of slowing down. The uncertainty left behind by the pandemic is one of the main reasons for the surge, with buyers not only hoarding food and essential items but also placing protection as their number one priority. According to FBI data, first-time gun buyers made up more than one-fifth of Americans, and background checks in March 2020 represented a 41% increase compared to the previous year. In sum, the industry experienced over 8.4 million first-time gun buyers by the end of the year.
Almost half of the first-time gun buyers were women and minorities — challenging the stereotype of the white male gun owner. With ownership largely spreading across urban and suburban areas, this new demographic adds to the popularity of gun and firearm use for recreation and self-defense. These numbers help the industry grow, and while gun owners are still considered a minority, its increasing popularity protects our Second Amendment, our right to bear arms.
However, being a first-time gun owner comes with an undeniably large responsibility and, therefore, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let’s take a look at what this represents and how — if you’re a law-abiding citizen — you’ll contribute to responsible gun ownership.
All new gun owners are experiencing the joy that current gun owners have known and felt the whole time, even before the civil unrest and protesting that the country has experienced.
There’s a collective mentality of the “good guy with a gun” in any situation where people take personal safety into their own hands. Now, while opposing sides have tried to discredit the idea of this theoretical heroic figure, studies have been inconclusive and instead driven by personal beliefs without enough evidence that concealed carry is indeed linked to an increase in violent crimes.
Law-abiding citizens are responsible gun owners. As this number increases, organized crimes are limited and often reduced. This is due to the fact that groups inciting violence and crimes are threatened by the lack of safety and the guarantee that their operations will proceed unchallenged and unhindered by the populace.
With more responsible gun owners with diverse backgrounds, the industry is paving the path towards safer and more acceptable recreational and personal safety practices.
Covid-19 brought the inevitable wave of fear — of the virus itself, food shortages, riots, and aggravated feelings of anxiety and uneasiness. With it, guns and ammo blew off the shelves, showing a significant spike in demand which produced many supply-chain issues. This shortage grew the general sense of frustration from new and existing gun customers.
There have been multiple conspiracy theories circulating addressing this shortage. However, they all fail to acknowledge the real problem at hand. On such an unprecedented scale, the massive increase in demand for firearms and ammo has forced companies and manufacturers to produce more handguns and supplies at a faster pace. This task requires a specific set of skills that not every staff is particularly trained in and therefore requires extra time to fully cover the market’s needs.
This shortage, however, represents both a challenge and opportunity for the industry, since it means that more citizens are showing interest in protecting the Second Amendment. With more responsible gun ownership, society is slowly taking away the taboo of owning a gun, which can be a polarizing and sensitive subject for many.
The responsibility of owning and handling a firearm lies in the training that comes with the purchase; it’s a package deal. A clear example of this is when people buy a motorcycle. They don’t do this without first knowing how to ride it or previously getting the proper training. Now the same happens when purchasing a firearm — you simply need to own up to the responsibility and get properly trained. A gun is a tool for defense or recreation that requires precaution. The training should also be shared with those around you who have access to it and can potentially handle it. Without this step, things can get ugly.
Citizens that are going out to purchase firearms are doing so as informed consumers. The new demographic shows mothers are looking to protect themselves and their families, and therefore are researching before the purchase. This is an opportunity to encourage even greater training, which at the end of the day, is part of being a responsible gun owner.
Every new firearm owner adds another vote to help protect the Second Amendment. What was once a larger group of indecisive buyers now realizes that it is time to own a gun and ensure personal safety and protection.
Do you have any recommendations for new gun buyers? Let us know in the comment section.
Ryan Donahue is the Director of Brand Management at American Outdoor Brands. Having turned his passion for anything firearms-related and his pursuit for 3 Gun competition glory into a role with American Outdoor Brands, Ryan Donahue is the model for the old saying, “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” He oversees many brands including Caldwell, Frankford Arsenal, and Smith & Wesson accessories as the Director of Brand Management. Previously, he worked for over a decade in the Motion Picture Industry as a Director of Production. Ryan holds several patents for digital movie technology and is proud to have worked on alternate presentations for major Hollywood films such as: The Matrix Reloaded 2003, Casino Royale 2006, and Iron Man 2008.