It’s been happening for years now. Your liberal-thinking neighbor. A self-proclaimed feminist family member. Several formerly anti-gun individuals within your circle of friends. Countless people who may not act or think like you have been buying guns for personal protection and home defense. And it’s awesome!
Growing Our Community
Reports have shown us that the last decade has brought more and more females to the gun community. In fact, a 2017 study by Pew Research Center found that about 1 in 5 women (22 percent) own a gun. But nowadays, we’re seeing even more changes to the face of firearms. During the first six months of 2020 — amid a worldwide pandemic — an NSSF report shows that there were more than 10.3 million firearms transactions. (That’s an increase of gun sales in the U.S. by 95 percent compared to last year!) And while all demographic groups have been making these firearms purchases, Black men and women accounted for a 58 percent increase.
My friend and fellow instructor Tony Simon has observed the recent growth and change. “The public reaction to the pandemic has caused many Americans to rethink their personal safety and security,” he indicated. He has noticed a drastic increase among people contacting him for firearms training and to host the 2nd is For Everyone: Diversity Shoots (2A4E). “Many of these people are not the ‘stereotypical’ firearms owners,” he continued. “[T]hey feel comfortable seeking me out due to me being the founder and host of 2A4E: Diversity Shoots and hosting the 2A4E podcast since 2015. Females, members of the LGBTQ community and members of various minority communities have contacted me about training classes or hosting Diversity Shoots in their states.”
This may have been years in the making, but gone is the so-called “boy’s club.” The notion that only older, white and conservative men are gun owners is a thing of the past. Responsible gun owners are coming from every section of the spectrum — wiping out the idea of the “average” American gun owner.
“The firearms community is growing,” Tony stated. “[P]eople of all races, religions, genders and backgrounds are actively seeking education about the tools to provide protection to themselves and their families. I welcome all [who] come seeking not only the knowledge necessary to keep and bear arms safely but also the ability to fight to maintain that civil right.”
Furthering Our Community
Undoubtedly, the influx of new gun owners from all walks of life can mean more support for the Second Amendment. And as long as we can put any possible differences, disagreements or demographics aside, millions of Americans can come together — unified in our understanding that life is worth protecting.
“The demographics of firearms ownership have been changing for some time now,” 2A advocate Erin Palette explained. Erin is the national coordinator for the Pink Pistols and founder and president of Operation Blazing Sword. (Check out Page 100 of January 2020’s Concealed Carry Magazine for Erin’s story.) After the Pulse Massacre in June 2016, a large number of queer individuals who had formerly been anti-gun decided to carry concealed pistols for self-defense. Likewise, in November 2016, many hard-left people feared that the Trump administration would be a threat to them. Ironically, these former anti-‘assault weapon’ advocates bought AR-15s for protection against government tyranny.
“I said to those people the same thing I said to the new firearms owners who bought pistols, shotguns and rifles to protect themselves and their families: Welcome,” Erin stated. “It doesn’t matter to me why any non-prohibited person wants a gun; it only matters that they own one. I have said before that gun owners are gun voters. What matters isn’t their gender, their political affiliation, their sexuality or anything else except whether or not they are pro-Second Amendment.”
Receive Them With Open Arms
I can honestly say that, for me, it’s so refreshing and rewarding to see and to help so many new gun owners. And I truly believe that with this surge of newcomers, we have been given an amazing challenge … and a welcome opportunity! As Erin so perfectly stated, “What we must do now is welcome these new gun owners into our community, teach them how to safely operate and store their firearms, and help them see the importance of voting for gun rights. They may have joined the firearms community out of fear, but we need them to stay for the freedom it represents.”
About Beth Alcazar
Beth Alcazar, author of Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals and associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, has enjoyed nearly two decades of working and teaching in the firearms industry. Beth is passionate about safe and responsible firearms use and enthusiastic about teaching others. She is certified as an instructor through SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute, DRAW School, TWAW and I.C.E. Training and is a USCCA Certified Instructor and Senior Training Counselor.