The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) recently released a report on the purchasing habits of handgun owners. It had a ton of firearms-related information that nerds like me find interesting: age ranges, spending budgets, ammunition preferences and more. Did you know that well over 50 percent of people purchasing their first handgun do so for self defense? Here’s the data . . .
I prepared this nifty little chart based on the data in the report. The NSSF were nice enough to break out their results to include not only the average statistics (in blue) but also the results from only those who own a single handgun (red). If you look at the red bars, you’ll notice that BY FAR the #1 reason people purchase their first handgun is home defense. Second is “plinking” (which I believe is the OFWG word for what people do at the range). Concealed carry is right behind plinking at about 16 percent. Home defense + concealed carry = well over 50 percent of the purchases.
So what does this tell us?
The most obvious takeaway: Americans looking to defend themselves are turning to handguns to defend their homes and their families. Which makes perfect sense; the handgun is the most logical choice for self defense scenarios. It’s easy to conceal (either on your person or in the home), easy to maneuver, and cheap to feed and maintain.
The issue: handguns are also the most heavily regulated non-NFA weapon available.
Back in my native state of New York I couldn’t purchase one without police approval and registration. Some places (DC and Chicago in particular) make it damn near impossible to own, let alone carry one. So when a first-time firearms buyer walks into their local gun store and asks to buy a handgun, the sheer volume of paperwork required is likely to turn them off legal gun ownership.
People want the ability to defend themselves. That’s their right and their responsibility. A handgun in the hands of a well trained citizen is the right tool for the job. But for some reason that idea (an armed citizen) scares the crap out of the gun control crowd. And that fear has led to an inability – in too many places – for people to be able to purchase the proper tools to defend themselves against crime. And that ain’t right.