A wave of crime, social unrest, calls to defund the police, political division, and pandemic lockdowns have actually led to a surge of anti-gun Americans joining a surge of first-time gun buyers.
"It really was a perfect storm of concerns," National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesman Mark Oliva told The Washington Post, adding the talk of seizing guns only further fuels the surge.
"The more an administration talks about gun control, the more you're going to hear cash registers ring."
Firearms sales in the past year reached the highest level in half a century, federal background checks show, and 40% of those sales were to first-time gun buyers, according to the report.
While gun ownership used to be about 50% in America a century ago, there has been a revival in the past year as 39% of Americans now own a gun, a 7-point rise from last year, according to a University of Chicago poll.
"Fear on top of fear on top of fear – women, especially, would say, 'I don't believe in guns, I don't like them, but the world has gone crazy,'" Delray Beach, Florida's Wex Gunworks firearms instructor at Charrie Wexler told the Post.
Shakima Thomas, 39, a lifelong Democrat, bought her first gun last year, an AR-15, and later added a handgun, because, as she told the Post, "the world was in an apocalypse."
She pointed to former President Donald Trump saying he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any support as the reason she finally decided to get a gun permit.
"I never felt like I would want to own a gun because of the damage I thought they do to people, but when I started feeling unsafe, all of that changed," she told the Post.
Data shows gun ownership is more prevalent among white Americans, but there is a 50% rise among Blacks, 47% rise among Hispanics, and a 43% rise among Asians, according to the report.
"Typically, my customers were always white men and white women concerned about who was president and what restrictions were coming," Austin, Texas' Central Texas Gun Works owner Michael Cargill, who is Black, told the Post. "Then last summer, you had the protests and downtown was basically boarded up. Law enforcement all went downtown. Right away, we had lines out the door every day.
"It didn’t matter if you were Democrat or Republican, white or Black. One side said, 'Trump's going to be reelected and it's going to get violent,' and the other said, 'Biden's going to win and he's going to come after the guns.' My instructors and I became like gun therapists for people who never had guns before or really didn't like guns. One lady came in here in tears, with her teenagers, and she said, 'This goes against everything I believe in, but I need my family to learn how to protect themselves.'"
Karen Williams-Adir, 49, of Los Angeles told the Post political division and unrest drove her to buy a gun.
"Certain people, certain colors were being targeted," she said. "I started getting angry because I don't understand why people just don't respect people's space.
"What happened to George Floyd just flipped my wig. It was just too hysterical. People were on edge. Enough was enough. I figured, if you want to come to my home and do harm to me for any reason, you might not ever go home again to yours."
She also feared the police.
"If I do everything you tell me to do and don't resist and I'm not armed, will I walk out of here alive?" she wondered, deciding she would not remain unarmed, buying .32 Beretta.
"It just felt like we needed to be able to defend ourselves. And I'm not bringing a knife to a gunfight."
Women like her have sought the added protection.
"I've had friends who have almost been abducted," Oklahoma State University senior Schuyler Brubaker, 21, told the Post. "Stillwater is not not a safe place, but there are some sketchy people here.
"I have no upper-body strength whatsoever, so me trying to fight my way out of a bad situation isn't a good option."
"If I want to go for a walk around the lake or if I want to go hiking by myself, I carry it with me."
Personal fear has overcome personal ideology, according to the Post.
Savannah Grace, 31, fearing "right-wing gun owners," calls herself a transgender gun person "who hates gun people."
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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