Former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was replaced by voters in 2018 and is now a political talk show pundit. During a discussion about the violence erupting in America’s communities, including Kenosha, Wisconsin, Portland, Oregon and her home-state St. Louis, Missouri, Sen. McCaskill opined women are “sick of all these guns.” Data shows she couldn’t be more mistaken.
Not So Show-Me Senator
Missouri is a state with strong Second Amendment approval and Sen. McCaskill tried to hide her antigun beliefs while in office. She was caught talking about her support for more gun control when she thought no voters would hear. Even her staff was recorded describing the senator’s Second Amendment voter deception.
When pressed why she wasn’t more vocal for gun control, a staffer bluntly stated, “But she doesn’t openly go out and support groups like Moms Demand Action or just like other groups that are related to that. Because that could hurt, her ability to get elected.”
On gun control, Sen. McCaskill supported a grab-bag of favorites, including reinstating a so-called “Assault Weapons Ban,” limiting so-called “large capacity magazines,” expanding background checks and even voting against a right-to-carry reciprocity bill.
Violence, Rioting and Surging Firearm Sales
As the coronavirus pandemic escalated, Americans became concerned for their safety and the safety of their families and neighborhoods. They watched as local law enforcement were stretched thin and unable to quickly respond to calls for help. Criminals were released from jails, many of whom committed more crimes.
Prosecutors announced they wouldn’t prosecute criminals, inviting law-breakers to act. With cities facing violence, looting and rioting, calls to “defund the police” echoed. Close to Sen. McCaskill’s home, the McCloskey’s of St. Louis made national headlines for exercising their right to protect their home.
These legitimate concerns spurned historic numbers of Americans to buy firearms in 2020. More than 13 million have done so, including more than 5 million first-timers.
Women Gun Owners Growing Fast
Speaking on TV about violent riots and how they may affect November’s presidential election, former Sen. McCaskill stated women had had enough. She said “And, you know, the American suburban women, they see that. And they don’t like everybody having an AR-15. That’s part of the problem in America right now.” She continued, “And the guns is a huge part of this. And women in America are sick of all of these guns…”
Data tells a different story. The continuing surge of firearm ownership in America includes women as one of the fastest-growing demographics, continuing a 20-year trend. In 2003, 13 percent of women identified as gun owners. Today that number totals around 25 percent. A quarter of those female gun owners said self-protection was their main reason for purchasing a gun and a whopping 70 percent affirmed owning a gun was essential to their personal freedom.
2020 sales have grown those numbers. Former Sen. McCaskill may be inconvenienced to learn of the nearly 13 million new firearms in the past 8 months, 5 million were purchased by first-time owners and nearly 2 million were women.
Data also shows handguns and Modern Sporting Rifles, including the AR-15 model former Sen. McCaskill mentioned, are among the most popular-selling firearms, for reasons of personal protection. Women aren’t just buying guns and placing them in a safe or storing them away either.
Women’s firearm training courses are booked solid, shooting ranges across the country are hosting “ladies night” events and women are practicing to ensure they are confident gun users. The ‘Soccer Mom’ has become the ‘Security Mom’ as they’ve taken their concerns, jumped off the fence and went right to the gun retail counter.
Former Sen. McCaskill is right. Women are concerned watching current events. But they aren’t “sick of all these guns.” Violence, rioting, looting and calls to reduce law enforcement are prompting women to take their safety, and the safety of their families, into their hands. That’s why the Second Amendment exists.
NSSF launched the #GUNVOTE campaign to help educate and activate all gun-owning voters so they don’t risk their rights on November 3rd.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.