Nearly half of new gun owners are women, study finds

As gun registrations climbed to an all-time high in 2020, a report shows women account for nearly half of those purchases — far above the 10-20% of gun owners they usually represent.

A report containing the preliminary results from the 2021 National Firearms Survey obtained by the Wall Street Journal indicates that for the first time, women are purchasing guns at a rate similar to men. The study, conducted by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Northeastern University, found that about 3.5 million women and 4 million men became first-time gun owners between January 2019 and April 2021.

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Last year was a record year for gun buying. Sales started climbing in March 2020 after coronavirus lockdowns began, and by June, background checks were up by 136% from the previous year. Of first-time gun owners, over 40% are black or Latino, and over a quarter of the new female gun owners are black.

The survey polled 19,000 people, many of whom listed the #MeToo movement, civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd last year, threats of defunded police departments, and the coronavirus pandemic as reasons for their decisions to purchase a firearm.

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Women in shooting clubs and gun rights advocacy groups said they felt better protected from all manner of threats knowing how to use a gun. Kanisha Johnson said she started learning about guns because she wanted to be “better prepared." Court records show her children’s father shot her in the head in 2017.

The gun industry is responding to women’s increased demand for guns with models easier for people with smaller hands to use. Until the recent surge, strategies to market guns to women, referred to as “shrink it and pink it,” were usually unsuccessful.

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Tags: News, Firearms, Woman, Harvard

Original Author: Virginia Aabram

Original Location: Nearly half of new gun owners are women, study finds