More women and minorities buying firearms for the first time
New data from a national survey of gun owners shows that women are increasingly buying firearms and now make up almost half of new gun buyers.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
The preliminary results from the 2021 National Firearms Survey, designed by Deborah Azrael of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Matthew Miller of Northeastern University, show an estimated 3.5 million women became new gun owners from January 2019 through April of this year. About 4 million men became new gun owners over that period, they found.
For decades, other surveys have found that around 10% to 20% of American gun owners were women.
That’s not the only demographic shift:
In addition to its findings on gender, the survey found that new gun buyers were more racially diverse than existing owners who bought more. Among new gun buyers, 55% were white, 21% were Black and 19% were Hispanic. Among new women gun owners, 28% were Black. The 19.6 million existing gun owners who bought more firearms since 2019 were 71% male and 74% white.
The changes have not gone unnoticed among gun makers:
The gun industry tried for decades to sell firearms to women with little success. Much of its strategy was known in the industry as “shrink it and pink it”—producing smaller handguns in brighter colors. Now, the industry is designing handguns that are easier for people with smaller hands to manipulate. Some companies have dropped sexualized marketing aimed at men, such as women in bikinis posing with new firearm models.
The longer term question is how these new gun owners may change the politics surrounding gun rights. One thing is clear: there wouldn’t be any new and more diverse gun owners were it not for the gun rights activism of generations of owners before them.