According to preliminary results from a 2021 National Firearms Survey, 7.5 million Americans became new gun owners between January 2019 and April 2021, and the demographic breakdown of who those owners are no longer mirrors demographic trends of decades past.
The surge in gun ownership was aided over this period in part by 2020, a year marked by violent protests in the wake of George Floyd's death and fear stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, both of which prompted Americans to arm themselves like never before, as federal background checks hit an all-time high.
Nearly half of the new gun owners in the 2019-2021 period analyzed by Deborah Azrael of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Matthew Miller of Northeastern University were women—roughly 3.5 million compared to approximately 4 million men.
The National Firearms Survey polled more than 19,000 adults. It is one of the largest nationally representative, population-based surveys about gun purchasing ever conducted, Dr. Azrael said.
In addition to its findings on gender, the survey found that new gun buyers were more racially diverse than existing owners who bought more. Among new gun buyers, 55% were white, 21% were Black and 19% were Hispanic. Among new women gun owners, 28% were Black. The 19.6 million existing gun owners who bought more firearms since 2019 were 71% male and 74% white. (WSJ)
Women pointed to personal reasons, like having a fighting chance in the face of sexual assault and domestic violence, and to concerns about safety amid calls to defund the police and last summer's violent riots.