Nearly half of the more than 100,000 Californians who have bought a gun since mid-March are first-time gun owners, according to a study released earlier this month.
Researchers at the University of California released a study on October 6 showing that 47,000 of the 110,000 people who purchased a firearm since widespread state lockdowns began in March are first-time buyers. The Washington Free Beacon first reported the results of the study on Friday.
The study’s authors analyzed data from the California Safety and Wellbeing Survey, an internet survey of 2,870 adults in California conducted from July 14-27, and weighted the data to be representative of the state population.
The researchers found that “the most common reason given for firearm acquisition in response to the pandemic was worry about lawlessness …, followed by worry about prisoner releases …, the government going too far …, government collapse …, and gun stores closing,” according to the study. “Reasons for ammunition purchases in response to the pandemic were similar.”
The data in California follow similar trends being played out across the United States. The onset of the pandemic partnered with widespread social unrest and violence has pushed thousands of people who have never before owned a gun to push through sometimes extensive government red tape in order to purchase one.
Surging gun ownership brought on by the pandemic and mass protests may have political ramifications for decades as thousands more Americans begin to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
A surge in gun purchases is being fueled by the rush of first-time buyers. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry trade group, found that gun sellers estimated that 40% of new firearm purchases went to new gun owners during the first four months of the year.
The record number of gun purchases has led to a national backlog in demand for ammunition. Ammo Incorporated, an ammo manufacturer based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is currently in the middle of a backlog worth about $80 million.
“We’re working right now seven days a week, 24 hours a day in all the manufacturing plants,” Ammo Incorporated’s CEO said earlier this month.
As The Daily Wire reported:
Ammo Incorporated’s CEO suggests that, initially, gun and ammunition purchases increased because of the coronavirus lockdowns. Fearing that help may not be on the way and that emergency services could be otherwise occupied, Americans armed themselves and stockpiled extra ammunition in case it became unavailable. National unrest, though, has given rise to further security concerns, and the many anti-racism and anti-police protests that have given way to violence and looting have driven gun owners to purchase additional weapons and ammunition.
“The start was the pandemic that was going on. But there was always that fear of the election. Of who’s going to be elected of the next President of the United States,” he told media. “But thirdly, I think the unrest in this country right now. And as you’ve seen in a lot of cities, the looting and the burning, and I think people are just scared.”
Many new gun owners have previously never contemplated owning a gun before and have been angered at the paperwork some have to navigate in order to purchase one. One California gun retailer said many of his customers were “shocked” at the regulations standing between a new gun owner and their firearm.