Welcome, First-Time Gun Buyers


The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade association, surveyed firearm retailers recently, and estimates that more than 3.2 million people purchased a firearm for the first time during the first half of 2021.

The survey was conducted to learn the buying habits and factors of this year’s firearm purchasers during the first six months of 2021. Respondents indicated that 33.2 percent of customers, or 3,247,351 people, purchased a firearm for the first time, based on June’s total of nearly 9.8 million background checks for a gun sale.

Joe Bartozzi, NSSF’s president and CEO, said, “These survey results show not only is there a strong and healthy appetite from first-time gun buyers, but that there is still room to grow. We are encouraged by the sustained interest in lawful and responsible gun ownership as well as by the manufacturing base which has been challenged to meet this remarkable demand.”

Survey results showed that in the first six months of 2021:

44.5% of first-time gun buyers in 2021 were under 40.

45.7% asked for information on safety training.

23.6% signed up for safety training.

Veterans of the gun culture probably knew this on some level, seeing as how firearms and ammunition supplies have been so tight. But rather than grouse about how everything is so expensive — or unavailable — we shooters have a great opportunity to expand our political reach by welcoming these new folks to the range and helping them out. Also, we can pass along good gun-handling habits so that we can all be safe when we shoot.

A panel of the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out its recent decision that a federal prohibition on firearms dealers selling guns to young adults under 21 was unconstitutional, deciding the case was now moot because both plaintiffs have become 21. Three judges had issued the 2-1 ruling on July 13, and the panel’s majority had ruled that people as young as 18 had a right to own guns under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms. One plaintiff turned 21 before the court ruled, and the second turned 21 on July 25 before the court issued a mandate in the case. Both had sought unsuccessfully to buy firearms in Virginia, when they were younger.

This is a Catch-22 for younger prospective gun owners because the length of time it takes to get a court ruling means that even if an 18-year-old (plus one day) purchaser is turned down for a gun buy, the prospective buyer will age out before a legal decision can be rendered — and the courts won’t have to make a ruling.

Mootness, neat trick for avoiding responsibility.


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