2020 has been a banner year for gun sales so far, with retailers reporting a 95 percent increase in firearms sales through the end of July. But a closer look at the numbers reveals a large portion of that sales surge is Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights for the first time. According to a survey of gun retailers by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), an estimated five million Americans who purchased a firearm time this year had never previously owned one.
"From January to July we've seen 12.1 million (FBI) background checks---that number is adjusted to reflect gun sales," says Bill Brassard, NSSF spokesman. "And a survey of firearms retailers showed that about 40 percent of buyers are first-time gun owners."
The numbers also show a very diverse makeup of these new gun owners. "It really covers Blacks, Hispanics, and we're seeing sustained interest by women," says Brassard. Indeed, the survey shows 58 percent of firearms purchases were by Blacks and 40 percent of first-time purchases were by women.
It appears the same tumultuous circumstances that are driving overall gun sales to record highs this year are behind the surge in first-time buyers. "American life right now is unsettled, due to the virus, due to the elections, due to unrest," Brassard tels KTRH. "And I think people just want to have their security in their own hands."
"Clearly, first-time buyers are concerned about safety and security for themselves and their family, and they're no doubt very appreciative of their Second Amendment right to own a firearm," says Brassard.