Trends /

Almost Half of New Gun Owners are Women, Harvard Study Finds

The data indicated one fifth of all Americans who bought guns last year were first time gun owners

A study from Harvard University found first-time gun owners are more diverse after a year of surging gun sales.

Since January 2019, over 46% of new gun owners have been women, according to the data.

Deborah Azrael of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Matthew Miller of Northeastern University created the 2021 National Firearms Survey. The survey polls 19,000 adults across the country. Azreal describes it as one of the largest nationally representative, population-based surveys about gun purchasing ever conducted.

They found that around 3.5 million women became new gun owners between January 2019 and April of 2021. During the same period of time, about 4 million men became gun owners.

“The gun industry tried for decades to sell firearms to women with little success. Much of its strategy was known in the industry as ‘shrink it and pink it’ — producing smaller handguns in brighter colors. Now, the industry is designing handguns that are easier for people with smaller hands to manipulate. Some companies have dropped sexualized marketing aimed at men, such as women in bikinis posing with new firearm models,” per Fox Business.

Additionally, gun ownership is growing among different ethnicities in America. 

“Among new gun buyers, 55% were white, 21% were Black and 19% were Hispanic. Among new women gun owners, 28% were Black. For context, Census data places the U.S. demographic breakdown at 13.4% Black and 18.5% Hispanic,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

Stephen Gutowski, the founder of The Reload, told NPRI think it’s actually … part of a larger trend. We’ve seen this going on for over a decade now. Gun owners have become more suburban. They’ve become less white and less male and younger over that time period. And what you saw last year was just an acceleration of that.”

“Azrael and Miller’s findings are even more notable given the anti-gun movement’s recent attempts to leverage the current identity politics mood in pursuit of their civilian disarmament agenda. The recent survey data is strong evidence that the public is ignoring these political opportunists, understanding that the Second Amendment right is for all Americans,” says AmmoLand.

The increased interest in firearms has been generally attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and frequently violent protests stemming from the death of George Floyd. 

In 2020, 21 million federal background checks were conducted for gun purchases — an all-time high. The National Firearms Survey found that a fifth of all Americans who bought guns last year were first-time gun owners.

Consulting firm Small Arms Analytics reported that 23 million guns were purchased last year. In comparison, 13.9 million guns were sold during 2019.

Gun purchasing was particularly high during June and July of last year, with 3.9 million and 3.6 million guns sold, respectively. Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicated that over a million more firearms were sold each month than the previous year.

After a slight decrease in the fall, 3,937,066 guns were sold in December of 2020.

January of 2021 reported the highest monthly gun sales thus far — surpassing 4.13 million, according to the FBI. 

*For corrections please email [email protected]*