When I launched this blog in February 2019, I noted that no one had (yet) systematically studied people who are gun curious. The Pew Research Center’s 2017 report, “America’s Complex Relationship With Guns,” offers some important leads, though.
Instead of simply asking respondents whether or not they currently own a gun, the Pew Research Center wisely also asked currently gunless respondents whether they had owned guns in the past and whether they could see themselves owning a gun in the future. Pew finds that 36% of the currently gunless could see themselves owning guns in the future.
Once we add the +/-3% margin of error, the U.S. population breaks down roughly in thirds:
- Current Gun Owners: 27 to 33%
- Not Currently But Possible Gun Owners: 33 to 39%
- Not Now and Not Ever Gun Owners: 30 to 36%
Here we start to see the gun curious. Let’s burrow a bit deeper.
Pew also reports that 85% of the currently gunless have never owned guns in the past, but half of those (49%) see themselves possibly owning guns in the future.
Moreover, some part of that third of the U.S. adult population who do not and could never see owning a gun may change their mind in the future. If I had been asked a question about gun ownership any time before 2010, I would have answered (emphatically) NO and NEVER.
The recent COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic has caused a bit of a gun and ammo buying spree in the United States. No doubt some of those rushing out to buy personal defense weapons in uncertain times are among the third of the population who don’t currently own guns. And some of those no doubt have never owned a gun before, including some Asians who are experiencing backlash due to association of COVID-19 with China.
Some in the gun community recognize the importance of these new gun owners getting good, basic information on the safe use of firearms. Just today, gun trainer Claude Werner (a.k.a. “The Tactical Professor”) launched the New Firearms Owner Information page on Facebook.
Of course, there are many resources available that pre-date the current buying spree, including Lucky Gunner Lounge’s “Shooting 101” video series by Chris Baker.
Paul Carlson of Safety Solutions Academy produced a basic and comprehensive 8 minute video on shooting the AR-15 platform rifle, which many new gun owners buy as their first rifle.
For the gun curious who have yet to make their first purchase, Kevin Creighton offers advice for first time buyer on the Ammoman School of Guns blog.
UPDATE (3/18): Immediately after posting this I saw The Firearm Blog posted some safety information specifically for new gun owners.
These are just a few sources that immediately come to mind. Feel free to post other good ones in the comments.