How Do We Get Open-Minded Non-Gun Owners to Buy Their First Firearm?

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Pew non-gun owners
Courtesy Pew Research

About two-thirds of adults report that they don’t own firearms (assuming those who respond to surveys are telling the truth). Of those who don’t own a gun, Pew Research reported last week that 52% say they’ll never own one. That’s OK. Guns aren’t for everyone. If you don’t want one, live long and prosper…just don’t try to tell the rest of us we can’t be gun owners.

On the other end of the scale, Pew also reports that significant percentages of the non-gun owning cohort in all demographic groups can see themselves becoming gun owners. Those percentages represent tens of millions of people who, if they were to take the plunge and join Gun Nation, would help make for a more polite society and, you’d hope, vote with their gun rights in mind.

So how do we make that happen? What’s the best way to reach out to these open-minded types and get them to pull the trigger — so to speak — on gun ownership?

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    • WordPress had a major aneurysm this morning. I’m surprised it came back as fast as it did and without any loss of data.

    • former water walker…agree 100% with your assessment. Becoming a victim of their own ideology has changed many a liberals mind.

    • Something already built with a good reputation for reliability might be a better choice…

      • …which is why I added the caveat.

        I work with a lot of mechanically inclined people, many of whom like to tinker with stuff. For many of them, anything becomes more interesting if they can build it, rather than just buying it.

  1. dacian says you dont need a gunm to protect yourself, give the crooks whatever they ask for and you’ll be just fine.
    After that most run out and buy several.

  2. I have seen programs in Detroit and San Diego that opened the door. They took woman to the range for their first safety brief and first shots. The students get over their fear of the bang. They then feel confident enough to take a class.

  3. I suspect that the percentage of those who say they could never see themselves owning a gun is at least somewhat skewed by the difficulty of buying/owning/carrying a gun in a number of States and cities. They just don’t want to contend with the costs, laws, and restrictions. Get rid of the impediments, and the numbers would flip.

  4. Well the vast majority of the gun shy group already own something that requires similar use of caution to operate safely…It is their two ton projectile called a motor vehicle.

      • Or fear of being ostracized by their Leftist Scum ™ social circles…

        • Almost all of the people in my social circles and my peers have no idea what my political beliefs are much less the fact that I am a gun-owner who is armed wherever I go. I don’t advertise and never talk about guns even when the subject comes up. I tend to keep my mouth shut in person when it comes to politics. I just smile and nod when it comes to guns. It’s almost comical what people say and think on both sides. The few times folks around me admit to carrying I never blow my own cover. But mostly folks are anti-gun when the subject comes up.

          I would bet that most all of them would be shocked and horrified to learn the truth. I also bet that there are probably a few others like me who I have not identified and maybe some that would even shock me how well they have “fitted in.” I do spot a few bulges but in my community the majority are mostly anti-gun.

          Only a very few close friends know I carry or even own guns and all of them carry as well and are equally mum about it around others. In an online community like this with a certain degree of anonymity that is a different matter.

        • “I would bet that most all of them would be shocked and horrified to learn the truth.”

          Left-leaning gun owners today are like gays in decades past who had to stay ‘in the closet’ out of fear.

          Our job is to help them let their freak flag fly… 😉

  5. There need to be more public ranges as many city-dwellers have no access to a range and few other options.

    If training is inaccessible then learning the basics of gun safety required for responsible gun-ownership becomes an insurmountable mental barrier to new prospective gun-owners.

    Every range that receives government money in any form should be required to offer range time to the general tax-payer public. That includes military and law-enforcement ranges and facilities.

    Untill the mystique of ownership is removed as a barrier then getting new owners into the activity will always be an uphill battle.

    • I also think that polls can’t really be trusted when it comes to guns. Many people are rightfully paranoid about admitting to owning or even knowing anything about guns. There are probably a WHOLE LOT of gun-owners who are “in the closet” about firearms and never talk about to outsiders. This needs to be factored into any discussion about “getting more people into guns” when they already are but are not going to talk about it to anyone.

      • There are also those that straight up forgot that they have grandpa’s old break action in the closet and don’t know what rounds it takes.

    • “There need to be more public ranges as many city-dwellers have no access to a range and few other options.”

      Every high school needs a 10m small bore range in the basement, and NCAA competitions set up between other schools…

      • That would be ideal.

        Every school should have a range and teach basic gun safety through advanced carry and tactical courses.

        • “Every school should have a range and teach basic gun safety through advanced carry and tactical courses.”

          The kids are already playing paintball.

          Education the same way driver’s ed is done, or even sex ed.

          There used to be competitive shooting in high schools and many colleges… 🙂

  6. So according to this study, by my math, about 64% of the population either own guns or are considering owning guns in the future. Might explain why gun control can never gain any traction.

  7. I don’t try to “get” someone to buy a gun. I don’t promote an agenda.

    If someone seems interested in guns, I offer any support and education that they are comfortable with.

  8. Cost and range access was a problem when I was living in cities like Minneapolis and Chicago.
    Add in the idiotic laws and other restrictions and requirements to legally own, carry or train with a firearm and I can see where some may not see themselves owning a firearm.
    Some are indoctrinated into the fear culture that firearms are somehow scary or dangerous in and of themselves.
    Some are stuck on stupid and follow the progressive/Marxist ideology where the state will provide for protection/security.

    • “Cost and range access was a problem when I was living in cities like Minneapolis and Chicago.”

      After ‘Heller’ and ‘McDonald’, Chicago got sued into issuing gun range permits. It’s happening, and may take more lawsuits to force compliance…

  9. Have you brought a non gun owning friend to a gun range this year to teach them about gun safety and get them to a competency level where they themselves can refute 90% of media lies about guns intuitively?
    If not, do that. Even if they don’t become a gun loving owner the next day, you have increased the amount of educated people in the nation. Which is something we deeply need.

    • Max, I have brought a stepdaughter to the range this year and I highly recommend the practice of introducing others to the shooting sports. I am 80 and don’t drive these days so she picks me up and I buy breakfast at a restaurant of her choice, I pay her range fee and supply all ammo. Since our first trip she has taken a carry class and is awaiting for her permit. She shot my Colt/Walther 1911 22LR yesterday and now wants one to add to her growing collection. She has a lot of fun and I get to be seen with a beautiful young woman by the good ole boys.

  10. “Some are stuck on stupid and follow the progressive/Marxist ideology where the state will provide for protection/security.”
    If time permits, the state or local LEOs may be able to help, but if the shortage and defunding of police is considered the chances of them arriving in time is reduced even further than it was before all the foolishness started. Besides, is your life/health worth the risks taken while waiting for the arrival of help, any help?
    The old by scout motto: “Be Prepared” is a good practice to live by. Therefore take action and be prepared to protect yourself and family before a bad event occurs.
    Doing nothing and depending on others is not a good viable option.

  11. I love it when a gun noob or pew-curious individual with little or no experience agrees to come try it out! “I’ve never shot a gun!” usually turns into “When can we go again?” I’ve helped a few join the fold, and getting a .22 in their hands usually does the trick. Safety and basic info gets covered before they touch a gun, and don’t offer too much instruction or advice. Maybe one “correction” each range trip other than safety issues. They’ll be back!

    • This, so much this!!

      I’m fairly new to gun ownership myself, but even as a fairly fit guy, firing a gun was a little intimidating at first.

      But I recently got a 22 pistol and it’s making everything fun. I can shoot a few hundred rounds and really focus on posture and technique, and that helps me handle my other pistols.

      I’ve got my mom and gf shooting that 22, too. Both found it fun and now they are more open to having other guns as well.

      A low cost, low stress way to get into firearms is critical.

  12. A nice, clean, professional storefront devoid of aggressive or overtly partisan sloganeering staffed by nice, clean, professional people in some sort of uniform or at least a matching polo.

    Walking into a gun shop should feel more like walking into a Target and less like walking into the backroom of a shady club.

      • I have both types around here it’s just that there are far more of the shady types than the nice types. Probably due to the low population density and rural layout of the area. It wouldn’t be sustainable to open a nice professionally run shop in most of the state so we get little dead-end dirt road kitchen table FFL’s selling out of makeshift storefronts in their garages and basements up where I am and in the southern part of the state where more people live there are nice, large shops well staffed and stocked. As nice as they are I don’t feel like driving two and a half hours one way just to check out some guns.

  13. Tent Hunters: California Couple Searches For Their Dream Home. (note: watch till end to get A point)

  14. How to get more open-minded people to get their first firearm? Nothing created more new gun owners than the rioting and looting during covid- the worse things get, the more people realize that they’re responsible for their own personal protection. Another wave of “mostly peaceful protests” over whatever issue is being pushed by those actually in charge should get another few million new gun owners.

  15. Take your friends shooting frequently *bonus points if they are democrat voting women. Show them how gun laws actually make things worse, walk them through the gun buying process.

  16. First, don’t insist they change their politics at a macro level to be welcome at the range and among gun owners.

    If we depend only on Republicans to vote in support of gun rights, we are doomed to lose. If we depend only on Trump-loving Republicans, that is an even smaller voting bloc.

    We should welcome anyone of any political persuasion into the community.

    • It does no good to give power to those that will take away the ability to own the very thing your trying to convince people they need. That’s why this is even a thing. The argument feeds on itself and just creates the stalemate we are all in.

      Half the country is on illegal drugs, on the government dole, or is of the mindset that everything Trump says is a lie while everything Biden says is to be completely trusted and blindly followed. There is very little middle ground anymore.

    • Omgosh thats a horrible story. I guess the husband was clocked with the bat while he was asleep…probably was not in shape to grab his gat and save the girls. I have to think I’d try my damndest though

  17. These surveys under estimate firearm ownership rates, probably by a large percentage.
    Most blue state residents will not admit to owning one, and many others think it’s nobody’s damn business if they do or not.

  18. I agree with the sentiments that others touched-upon.

    Regarding a person who is curious about firearms and open to owning one some day:

    Share knowledge with him/her about advantages and laws.
    Offer to train him/her.
    Offer to take him/her to a shooting range and provide super-basic coaching.
    Provide the firearm/s and ammunition at that shooting range.

    THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what edges a curious person who is open to owning a firearm to go out and purchase a firearm.

  19. I know I comment from another continent… in fact from another world, considering guns (Italy), but I’m Range Officer in a shooting range and my experience is pretty clear.
    Bring newbies to the range and have them try the gats and see the people.
    There is invariably an A-HA-moment, when they realise that gun owners are not a dangerous group of rabid fascists, that shooting is not a violent and dangerous (socially) activity and that it is actually very much fun.
    Many also like the mechanics of guns, start asking about the way they work, about calibers and stuff like that.
    In our range, we regularly organise days where we bring small groups of people (8-15) for a try.
    We start with a good but relatively short coaching about safety, behaviour at the range and characteristics of all the guns we will offer that day, then we take the people to the shooting lines and have a RO per line taking personal care of each one.
    The results are wonderful!
    Last time, we took the pharmacists of our small town to the range, and a couple ladies are now getting their permits.
    Soon they’ll join us at the club.

  20. A lot of them may already have guns, I know a guy with at least a shotgun, a lever action 30/30 and a 32 ACP pistol who claims not to be a gun owner as he inherited the guns. He wanted to be a gun owner, but he wanted a Glock and an AR-15 for $300 and was shocked at real prices. He got huffy when I suggested he buy some ammunition and learn to shoot the guns he already had.

  21. “How Do We Get Open-Minded Non-Gun Owners to Buy Their First Firearm?”

    The same way it began back in 2019- allow, even encourage, rioting in the streets near non poverty-stricken burbs over baited racial incidents . Let it go on for some time and have the elected scum and their compliant media attempt to rationalize it as a good thing- something that needs to happen for fairness and equity. It worked very well back then and still seems to have gun sales high.

  22. “How Do We Get Open-Minded Non-Gun Owners to Buy Their First Firearm?”

    Send the non-gun owners to a Democrat ran city. Take them on walking tours of some of the most dangerous parts of the city. In many cases, those parts in recent times were very nice, tourist trafficked areas with many small businesses, bars, restaurants.
    Let them see the open air drug markets if there are any. Let them see what no cash bail policies look like. Them them witness shoplifting and theft. Perhaps even get robbed themselves.
    Let them see what the people who live in these places have to deal with everyday.

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