Americans among various demographic groups became first-time gun buyers last year when violent crime surged in many cities, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reported.
Women, blacks, Asians, and Hispanics joined a market dominated by male and white customers to be among 5.4 million first-time gun buyers in 2021, NSSF said.
More than 33% of first-time gun buyers in 2021 were women, and 44% of retailers saw an increase of African Americans purchasing firearms.
Many first-timers bought more than one gun, and a sizable number also signed up for gun handling classes, NSSF reported.
Gun buying has surged nonstop amid the jump in violent crimes and concerns about President Joe Biden's threat to stop sales of semi-automatic weapons, the Washington Examiner reported.
NSSF based its report on retailer surveys and adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System background checks.
"The surveys revealed that new gun owners are continuing to embrace their Second Amendment rights and nearly half of them are seeking out professional training," NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi said in a release.
"These trends show that not only is there still a strong interest in gun ownership but also that these new gun owners are interested in learning more about the safe and responsible handling, use and storage of firearms."
Among the findings in the NSSF release:
- Nearly 47% of first-time gun buyers in 2021 inquired about training, and 43% signed up for training.
- Nearly 23% of retailers indicated that first-time gun buyers in 2020 purchased another firearm in 2021.
- Nearly 40% of retailers saw an increase of Hispanic Americans purchasing firearms in 2021.
- More than 27% of retailers saw an increase of Asian Americans purchasing firearms in 2021.
- More than 18% of retailers saw an increase of Native Americans purchasing firearms in 2021.
- Nearly 14% of retailers saw an increase of Native-Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders purchasing firearms in 2021.
An increase in crime around the country may have contributed to the rise in first-time gun owners. At least 12 major U.S. cities set annual homicide records with three weeks remaining in 2021.
Last year ended as one of the most violent on record in Chicago, as a rise in the number of shootings left more people dead than in any single year in a quarter century, according to statistics released by the police department.
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