More than 5 million Americans purchased guns for the first time this year, and many of them are minorities, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
In its annual survey of gun stores across the country, the foundation found that 58% of recent firearm purchases were made by black men and women, which is “the largest increase of any demographic group.”
And although the majority of new gun owners were men, 40% of the first-time gun purchasers were women, the foundation reported.
In total, there has been a 95% increase in firearm sales and a 139% increase in ammunition sales compared to this time last year, the foundation reported.
This study confirms what many gun stores have been anecdotally reporting for months: Americans are buying firearms more than they ever have before—in large part because the ongoing riots and the coronavirus pandemic have unsettled them.
Also potentially driving the sales are concerns that elected officials may try to restrict access to firearms.
Last month, for example, a Florida mayor banned the sales of guns as part of his efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.
“This is a tectonic shift in the firearm and ammunition industry marketplace and complete transformation of today’s gun-owning community,” said Lawrence Keane, the senior vice president of general counsel for National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“These first-time buyers represent a group of people who, until now, were agnostic regarding firearm ownership,” Keane said. “That’s rapidly changing, and these Americans are taking hold of their God-given right to keep and bear arms and protect themselves and their loved ones.”
The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System logged a 70% increase in background checks compared to what they were this time last year, too, according to recent data.
“I’ve been in this business going on 14 years, and I have never seen this much demand. There are shortages of nearly every single defensive firearm currently manufactured,” Justin Anderson, marketing director for Hyatt Guns in Charlotte, NC, said earlier this summer.
“Large shipments are arriving in the morning and are selling out the same day,” he said. “Our concealed carry classes are filling up so fast that we are adding dates to try to keep up with demand.”