Gun sales have been climbing steadily this year during the coronavirus pandemic, but this year’s spike is different because of increased numbers of first-time buyers, particularly among Black Americans and women.
Sales of firearms and ammunition generally do rise during an election year over fears that if a Democrat is elected president, restrictions could go into place on gun ownership, reports CNN Business. This year, the pandemic and fears over unrest in the nation’s cities are also coming into play.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which analyzes industry trends and tracks gun sales, says first-time buyers resulted in sales of about 40% of the guns sold in the first four months of this year. That’s far higher than the annual average of 24% reported over the past two decades, according to the organization.
The NSSF reports gun sales among Black Americans has gone up by 58% through September, and foundation director of public affairs Mark Oliva said that rise is unprecedented.
“We’ve never seen a year-over-year increase that large in African-American gun buyers,” Oliva, who is white, told CNN Business. “It is the largest demographic increase we’ve seen. People that are buying guns today look a whole lot less like me and a whole lot more like the rest of America.”
Douglas Jefferson, vice president of the National African American Gun Association said the organization has seen membership climb since around March when coronavirus lockdowns started. The organization had about 30,000 members nationwide before the pandemic, but after that, about 5,000 new members joined.
He said much of the climb happened because of people’s fears their homes would be broken into, and also because of the civil unrest this summer, including fears of white supremacists and police.
“It just seems we’ve had a lot more high-profile incidents where white supremacists have caused harm to Black people,” Jefferson said. “There’s a greater awareness of it and concern for it and people wanting to protect themselves and their families against it.”
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