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Fear & Loading: Who Are the Real New Firearm Enthusiasts?

Fear & Loading: Who Are the Real New Firearm Enthusiasts?

Most assume the record-setting gun-sales trend is fueled exclusively by a young generation of enthusiasts. Anecdotal evidence, which includes comments from store owners and the success of an all-new style of shooting ranges often called “Guntry Clubs,” support the claims, but senior citizens are also a growing part of the market.

Let’s face facts. Baby boomers are retiring and not all of them are interested in knitting or bingo.  A recent story in the Kansas City Star detailed one of that area’s gun ranges, where senior citizens line up for early morning firing lanes. Shooters interviewed in the article list a variety of reasons for their enthusiasm, including self-defense.

Gun ownership and training by Social Security recipients is paying huge dividends. Several recent incidents highlight the trend. In New Mexico, a 70-year-old man neutralized a criminal threat  by trumping a bad guy’s hockey stick with his .38 Spl. A 91-year-old Michigan man was forced to shoot an alleged robber outside a Rite Aid. No one was injured in this South Carolina incident, but the 80-year-old great grandfather is undoubtedly happy he didn’t forget his .25 ACP handgun that day.

If you know a senior citizen who expresses concern about their safety, it’s a great opportunity to politely bring up these stories and suggest quality NRA training. I had that chance last week when a woman—who retired 10 years ago from government service—was one of the people on my flight with an overnight delay. The flight attendant asked me to help her get to the hotel, I obliged, and the conversation in the shuttle was interesting. She brought up the subject of increasing crime in her neighborhood. Her husband owns guns, but “He said if I used one the robber would only grab it and use it on me,” she explained.

I told her criminals neutralize the primary threat first, in this case her husband, and that delay often leaves the spouse with a temporary advantage. I cited several instances, but here’s a recent case just in case you run into the same rebuttal.

No one should be injured or killed in a criminal attack, and no family deserves to lose a grandparent or loved one that way. I closed the conversation, as I always do, with the advice that if gun ownership and training isn’t an option, attending one of the NRA’s Refuse To Be A Victim seminars is a great way to minimize risk and exposure.     

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