An influx of new gun owners has the potential to permanently alter the politics surrounding guns in the United States. If industry estimates are correct, millions of Americans across the country have become first-time gun buyers since March. If the experience changes their minds about the ongoing debate over gun control it could tip the balance of political power toward pro-gun activists and politicians.
It is not that the new buyers were unaware of the politics of gun control. Several new gun owners who spoke to the Free Beacon—some of whom requested anonymity citing safety concerns—generally leaned toward enhanced restrictions, their positions informed mostly by major news stories. But as they have become more personally invested in the debate, they find themselves more skeptical of gun control. Brian, a 40-year-old Floridian, used his savings to buy a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in March after being laid off—the experience changed his entire approach to Second Amendment issues.
“In the past, I wasn’t against owning a gun. However, I did think that we had suffered enough as a country from school shootings, and something needed to be done. I was for stricter gun laws—no ARs, close the gun-show loophole, better mental health regulations, etc.,” he said. “I would now oppose stricter gun laws.”
– Stephen Gutowski in First-Time Gun Buyers Explain How Coronavirus Changed Their Politics