New Gun Owners: Collected Works About

Although there are and have always been new guns owners every year, the Great Gun Buying Spree of 2020 may entail more new gun owners than normal. It has certain generated more interest in new gun owners than normal.

The COVID-19 pandemic compounded by the George Floyd protests and riots mixed with the boogaloo/CW2/Great Awakening V leading up to a hotly contested presidential election created unprecedented pressures to get the Gun Curious off the fence and into gun ownership.

This post collects various stories and studies I have come across that emphasize new gun owners, especially in 2020, but also earlier. If you know of other works to be included, please post them in the comments.

This American Life, The Gun Reality of Now, 30 October 2020. Ignore the interviewer’s condescending tone and just listen to the voices of these new gun owners.

New York Times, The Daily, The Field: The Specter of Political Violence, 29 October 2020. Ignore the “alarming” characterization – more voices of new gun owners here, incl Black females.

My take on an article on new gun owners buying during the COVID-19 pandemic published in the journal Injury Prevention.

New York Times, “A Divided Nation Agrees on One Thing: Many People Want a Gun,” 27 October 2020. No scholars quoted in this story, but Douglas Jefferson of NAAGA is.

-Reuters story picked up by NBC News, “Women, seniors, liberals, stock up on guns amid fears of ‘bloody’ election and unrest,” 15 October 2020. Profiled is one of 125 members in the new Hudson Valley Nubian Gun Club. More than half of members are female, and more than two-thirds are Black, including founder Damon Finch.

Wall Street Journal Opinion, “Confessions of a New Gun Owner,” 14 September 2020. Americans are losing confidence that the police will keep them safe. Like millions of others, my wife and I decided it was time to become gun owners, writes William McGurn.

-My synopsis of 2018 article published in American Journal of Public Health on “Differences Between New and Long-Standing US Gun Owners.”

4 thoughts on “New Gun Owners: Collected Works About

  1. I’m a seventh-generation American whose extended family still lives around and about ancestral homesteads in southeastern Pennsylvania. My parents are in their 80s, and still live on a country property. Despite our liberal politics, we have a long multi-generational hunting tradition, so shooting has always been a part of our lives (both my father and I had junior hunting licenses from our early teens, and access to guns from that age, many of which have been passed down for generations). That said, pistols were always considered dangerous, déclassé, to use the vernacular, “douchey” … something only “city people” packed. We shook our heads in disgust when we’d read about kids finding loaded guns in nightstands and glove compartments and shooting a sibling … and view recent developments with people conspicuously engaging in “open carry” as a failure of established social mores, mostly based on social class.

    Therefore, I was shocked to learn a few years ago that my father had purchased a pistol with the specific intent to have something with which to engage in home defense. This was driven in no small part by suburban encroachment, the shift in national political discourse (or lack thereof), and public safety coverage by a local constabulary replaced by the much more infrequent and further-off state police. My parents’ rationale wasn’t based upon a perceived threat from urban uprisings (the whipped-up “antifa”/immigrant ‘threat”), but rather fear of the “shotguns and pick-up trucks” crowd and/or the AR-15-wielding “Meal Team Six”/”Gravy Seals” chickenhawk types who might’ve been offended by Democratic party lawn signs and/or a rolled-up home delivery New York Times delivered to the driveway.

    I spent most of my young adulthood in US urban areas where gun ownership was rare, and now live in Germany, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. That said, we’re also active hunters, the privilege (not the right) of participation in which grants us surprisingly generous allowances to own guns under very strict conditions, including mandatory registration, the government’s right to random inspections on safe storage, and continuous scrutiny of one’s fitness (legal, physical, and having a bona fide reason to keep and use firearms … in our case for hunting purposes) to do so. German hunters are allowed to register an unlimited amount of long guns, but pistols are tightly regulated to two for each person, with the express purpose of administering the coup de grâce to injured wildlife; any self-defense usage is allowable only under extreme circumstances. We are of what would be considered (certainly by American definition) liberal political beliefs; but I have to admit that we take a certain comfort having access to the firearms we own. But we’re well-aware that our hunting avocation places us in a somewhat unique situation (there are c. 400,000 licensed hunters out of a population of 83 million, so 0.5%).

    I have to admit that my personal views on guns reflect a somewhat arrogant view that some of us are educated/privileged/enlightened enough to own them, but most people aren’t. My father once gave us a telescope for Christmas when my kids were little, and said “make sure to reinforce that this can’t be pointed anywhere near the sun … treat it as if it were having a shotgun in the house in terms of how much damage it could do (to one’s vision in tis case). He was right. But the pistol thing still has me conflicted … what kind of a sh*thole society do we live in that we’re starting to feel it’s a necessity? It must’ve felt the same way when people started locking their cars and house doors in acknowledgement of external threats resulting from a high-trust society in decay.

    P.S. David, you’re doing very important sociological work here … please keep it up.

    P.P.S. I looked to find other comments to your initial post, but didn’t see any … perhaps I’m the first reply.


    • I should have noted the passages that tripped my sensors. At this point I cant go back, though. It is possible on part that Ira Glass always sounds that way.

      I did appreciate how much they let the people speak and that the female interviewer observed the new shooters hands stop shaking as she got more comfortable shooting


  2. Reading these, there seems to a a big elephant in the room no one wants to discuss. Fear. How far does individual fear drive the individual to succumb to the herd mentality that one needs to own a gun to insure personal protection. Nothing has really changed, we still have ghettos and gangs, yet now it seems we have lost the war in Afghanistan. By that it is meant, that we have not changed the world, the outer world is changing the US. We tend to be more tribal, more divided into clans, more prone to shoot first and ask questions later, more apt to live in fear. We have grown beards, flown flags, acting like self righteous Taliban tribes, moving away from the self assured big man in the saddle American image. Fear is ruling the day. It is time we put on our adult attitudes, place fear to the side and move forward in confidence. Much more about this, just not now..


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