By Larry Keane
It must be deflating for national gun control groups. They push for more and more restrictions on law-abiding Americans whom they label “dangerous” and “impulsive” only to watch as millions of new gun owners search out firearm education and training and prove they are safe and responsible gun owners.
Recent firearm industry retail data revealed first-time gun buyers especially, totaling more than 5.4 million in 2021 and 8.4 million in 2020, are seeking training opportunities with their new purchases.
Once experienced with the process involved to legally purchase their gun and confident with using it, it’s no wonder gun-owning Americans view the push for more gun control with increasing skepticism.
Law-abiding Americans were concerned about their personal safety for a number of legitimate reasons. That’s why throughout 2021, millions visited their neighborhood firearm retailer and left with a newly purchased gun. Take for instance in Philadelphia, where there were a record-setting 562 murders and Democratic District Attorney Larry Krasner faces calls for impeachment over his soft-on-crime approach that lets criminals off easy through plea deals.
Philly’s Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney knows his citizens are in danger. “I think people should be concerned about their safety,” he admitted. But he continued, saying, “I don’t advocate carrying guns for anybody, to tell you the truth, other than law enforcement… Nobody else should be carrying one.”
Los Angeles is experiencing rampant crime and budget cuts left law enforcement short staffed. They told residents to “cooperate and comply” if they were the victim of a crime. George Soros-funded Democratic District Attorney George Gasón is facing a recall for his own horrible prosecution record.
That’s not going to cut it for millions of Americans and all told nearly 14 million Americans were driven to purchase their first firearm. As gun control groups cried and warned that millions of new guns were going to put everyone in danger, new gun owners are getting trained instead of living in fear.
New survey data of thousands of firearm retailers across the country found that nearly 50 percent of new first-time gun buyers inquired about professional firearm training while purchasing their gun. Forty-three percent of those new gun owners even signed up for training then and there.
Will Rose wanted to help break the stigma of African-American gun ownership and founded BMC Firearms in Connecticut to provide a comfortable and non-intimidating experience for new gun buyers. His business is booming and recognized his customers didn’t just want a gun – they wanted the training and education too. His customers speak highly of the experience.
“I purchased a couple of firearms from Will,” Neville Brooks said, according to media reports. “People come to me all the time asking where they can get the training they need for a pistol permit. I’ve sent several people from the Hartford area to him to be trained. I’ve sent doctors and nurses. They all come back with rave reviews about how safety conscious he is and how comfortable he makes them feel.”
Similar local media report the same story: new gun owners are looking to be educated, trained and confident. Victoria Martinez in Las Vegas, one of the many new Hispanic-American gun owners in the United States, described why she took the steps to get armed and trained.
When she was growing up, “Only people that were bad had guns, we never had guns in our house or close to us,” Martinez told media. “In the past years, especially how everything has changed in the environment I feel a little less secure, so last year I got a revolver. It’s been empowering for me to be not so scared walking to my car or from my job. It’s very empowering for me so I can protect myself.”
According to the retailer data, women accounted for approximately one-third of purchases in 2021, down only slightly from 2020’s mark of 40 percent. Becca Mineo and her husband operate Hawkeye 22 Tactical Training and have witnessed the influx of women buyers interested in learning more and being a return customer and learner. “We want to help people be safe and feel comfortable throughout the process of going from the beginning to being able to go to the range on their own,” she said.
Committed to Training
As millions of Americans continue to head to their neighborhood firearm retailer and heading home with a new purchase, it remains a priority for the existing gun-owning community to welcome in new gun owners and encourage them to get educated and trained. Industry initiatives like #LetsGoShooting® and the +ONE® Movement are focused on introducing someone new to firearms and recreational shooting and to get them trained to be more responsible and educated gun owners themselves. Winchester Ammunition debuted Shoot United, a program that provides information and resources to promote hunting, recreational shooting and responsible firearm ownership. New gun owners are hungry for qualified training and the industry is providing options to welcome them into the gun own-owning community.