Nearly 30 percent of all firearms sold last year went to new gun owners, according to a retailer survey conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The findings indicate at least 5.4 million people purchased one for the first time in 2021.
The figure represents a 10 percent decrease from 2020, when a similar survey’s results—based on estimates calculated from the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System (NICS) volume—found 40 percent first-time gun buyers, roughly 8.4 million. Combined, it means the decade launched by adding roughly 14 million to the roll of law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights.
“We welcome these new gun owners to the greater community of law-abiding Americans who choose to own a firearm for lawful purposes, including self-defense, recreational target shooting and hunting,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president and CEO. “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. 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.”
NSSF’s 2020 surveys also indicated demographics in ownership are changing significantly. That year showed a 58-percent increase of African-Americans buying guns when compared to 2019. There was also a 49-percent increase of Hispanic-Americans during the same time period and a 43 percent increase of Asian-Americans. According to 60 percent of retailers surveyed, those increases remained unchanged from 2020 to 2021.
Forty-three percent of the people who purchased their first gun last year signed up for training. One third of the people purchasing their first firearm in 2021 were women and of those new buyers in 2020, 23 percent came back to add another to their collection.