California gun store
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
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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.

Firearms instructor Wayne Thomas instructs women the proper stance in firearms shooting at the Recoil Firearms store in Taylor, Mich.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Taking Initiative

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.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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 Gascón 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.

All Walks

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.”

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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.

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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  1. What’s with the “stigma” of black gun ownership bs?!? Not in ILLannoy & Indiana! Legal or “illegal” black folks have always had gats…

    • there have always been large numbers of conservative blacks. in the last few decades they’ve been de-platformed and silenced by boolshevik propaganda and loud outside-supported “leaders” of aggressive followers. if they ever stand back up and take control of their communities again, this will work out well.

  2. Gun Control zealots want the image of law abiding Gun Owners to be along the lines of the McMichaels and their “yes george” neighbor. Actually the image of knuckleheads with guns belongs to the Gun Control military wing of the democRat Party known as the kkk.

    The democRat Party can call everyone they want racist but the racism today’s democRat Party claims to disdain came from somewhere and that where is their very own slave master, plantation, Jim Crow democRat Party. The democRat Party left behind a long trail of racism for others to follow and some have. Will the democRat Party ever acknowledge ownership and dig into their party coffers to make Reparations? If they do not it only proves what they were and still are.

  3. I remember a series of interviews of New Yorkers a few years ago. One YBM said about enabling people to carry guns, “Oh, no! It would be like the Wild West around here.”

    And now due to an incredible degree of mismanagement by De Blasio and his illegitimate stepchild Eric Adams, NYC makes the Wild West look tame. And most black and Hispanic people who live there are too brainwashed or too ignorant to understand that they’ve gotten exactly what they wanted.

    Sorry, but when it comes to guns, I trust our new demographics as much as I trust a falling leaf in the wind.

  4. My friend and neighbor brought his grandson and the young man’s girlfriend over to our weekend cookout last Sat. The young lady is a city girl who was afraid of firearms of any kind. But, after watching my wife, and my daughter shoot, she decided to give it a try. My wife let her use her .22 revolver. By the time we put the guns away, the young lady not only admitted she enjoyed shooting, but expressed interest in possibly buying her own pistol. I suggested she try out a few different weapons before she purchased anything, and also gave her the number of someone who runs a class for safety and basic shooting skills for new gun owners/potential gun owners near where she lives. She said she wants to come out next month when we have another cookout and informal shoot. Nice to see a young black woman get over her fear of guns and perhaps learn to see them as the tools they are.

    • “also gave her the number of someone who runs a class for safety and basic shooting skills for new gun owners/potential gun owners“

      Bless you! This sort of one on one, non-confrontational interaction is exactly how we change peoples hearts and minds.

      Thank you for having the time and patience to effect positive change, these efforts far outweigh any anger based rants in advancing our gun rights.


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