Before the pandemic, gun restrictionists would often argue that ownership was on the decline and that large numbers of firearms were in the hands of relatively few people. The reality was that the number of households with firearms (or, rather, households that admitted to owning firearms) has remained relatively consistent at around 44 percent, according to a Gallup poll. The pandemic has almost certainly pushed that number higher. According a University of Chicago study, around 18 percent of U.S. households bought firearms during the pandemic.
What stands out, though, is that 5 percent of all Americans purchased a gun for the first time during the past couple years. I suspect that this is the largest spike in gun ownership in American history. And those new gun owners, according to NORC, were younger and more diverse (69 percent of first-time buyers were minorities and 85 percent were under 45 years old) than the average pre-pandemic gun owner.
Another interesting aspect of the study found that new gun owners quickly became Second Amendment proponents:
Despite demographic differences between first-time and pre-pandemic U.S. gun owners, NORC’s experts found that the two groups have similar views on gun-control policies. Both first-time and pre-pandemic U.S. gun owners support more permissive gun policies than non-gun owners. These included policies such as expanding concealed carry, shortening waiting periods before gun purchases, and allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns in schools.
This doesn’t bode well for any gun-control legislation in the foreseeable future.
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