The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearm industry trade association, revealed that at least 5.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time in 2021. This means nearly 30 percent of all firearm purchases last year went to new gun owners, based on NSSF’s retailer surveys and adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background checks.
That figure is a 10 percent decrease from the 40 percent of first-time gun buyers revealed in similar surveys in 2020. More than 21 million background checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm then, with over 8.4 million of those estimated to be for those buying a firearm for the first time.
“We welcome these new gun owners to the greater community of law-abiding Americans who choose to own a firearm for lawful purposes, including self-defense, recreational target shooting and hunting,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president and CEO. “The surveys revealed that new gun owners are continuing to embrace their Second Amendment rights and nearly half of them are seeking out professional training. These trends show that not only is there still a strong interest in gun ownership but also that these new gun owners are interested in learning more about the safe and responsible handling, use and storage of firearms.”
Similar retailer surveys in 2020 showed a 58 percent increase of African-Americans buying guns in 2020 vs. 2019, with a 49 percent increase of Hispanic-Americans during the same time period and a 43 percent increase of Asian-Americans buying firearms in 2020 compared to 2019. Nearly 60 percent of retailers said the increase of these demographic groups of first-time buyers purchasing firearms remain unchanged from 2020 to 2021.
NSSF’s 2021 survey of retailers showed several other key findings:
- Nearly 47 percent of first-time gun buyers in 2021 inquired about training and 43 percent signed up for training.
- Nearly 23 percent of retailers indicated that first-time gun buyers in 2020 purchased another firearm in 2021.
- Over 33 percent of first-time gun buyers in 2021 were women.
- 44 percent of retailers saw an increase of African-Americans purchasing firearms in 2021.
- Nearly 40 percent of retailers saw an increase of Hispanic-Americans purchasing firearms in 2021.
- Over 27 percent of retailers saw an increase of Asian-Americans purchasing firearms in 2021.
- Over 18 percent of retailers saw an increase of Native-Americans purchasing firearms in 2021.
- Nearly 14 percent of retailers saw an increase of Native-Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders purchasing firearms in 2021.
For more information, visit nssf.org.