January 22, 2021
Late in the summer of 2020, the National Shooting Sports Foundation analyzed retail information and concluded that nearly 5 million Americans purchased a firearm for the very first time in 2020, and gun shops reported 40 percent of sales were to purchasers who have never previously owned a firearm.
NSSF-adjusted NICS background checks for January through July 2020 were a record 12.1 million, which is up 71.7 percent from the 7.1 million NSSF-adjusted NICS January through July 2019. This equates to nearly 5 million first-time gun owners in the first seven months of 2020.
“This is a tectonic shift in the firearm and ammunition industry marketplace and complete transformation of today’s gun-owning community,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president of general counsel. “These first-time buyers represent a group of people who, until now, were agnostic regarding firearm ownership. That’s rapidly changing, and these Americans are taking hold of their God-given right to keep and bear arms and protect themselves and their loved ones.”
The foundation’s surveys found that 58 percent of firearm purchases were among African American men and women, the largest increase of any demographic group. Women comprised 40 percent of first-time gun purchasers. Retailers noted they are seeing a 95 percent increase in firearm sales and a 139 percent increase in ammunition sales over the same period in 2019.