Now that the great gun splurge provoked by Covid-19 appears to have come to an end, or it at least slowing down, what did it all mean? Why did people buy all those guns, and who were the people buying all those guns?

              Here are rounded-off baseline numbers for FBI-NICS background checks:

              2019 – 12,110,000

              2020 – 20,270,000

              2021 – 17,450,000

              Two months ago – January – the FBI processed sightly less than 1,120,000 checks.  In January 2021 they processed 1,961,000 checks. Last month the total number was 1,261,000 compared to 1,314,000 in February 2021.

              In fact, what drove the explosion of gun purchases in 2020 wasn’t the Pandemic as much as it was the murder of George Floyd and subsequent street unrest.  Floyd (of blessed memory) was killed on May 25,2020.  The FBI-NICS call center processed 2,125,886 background checks in June. Nobody had ever seen 2 million checks in one single month, although that number would be surpassed by monthly totals in early 2021.

              When did that idiot attorney in Missouri come out on his front steps and wave an AR-15 at a group of BLM marchers going past his home?  Try June 29, 2020. McCloskey, the guy with the gun, is now running for the U.S. Senate.  Imagine living in Missouri and having Mark McCloskey and Josh Hawley representing you in the Senate. Perfect, just perfect.

              In the meantime, let’s get back to all those gun buyers, particularly the new buyers.

              My good friends at Harvard and Northeastern have published a new study which attempts to figure out who was buying all those guns over the last several years.  You can read a summary of their excellent article here or you can download the entire article here.

                The survey gathered data on gun ownership and purchases from 19,000 adults, of whom one-third said they owned guns. Of the gun-owning group, one-third said they had purchased at least one gun since 2019, and of that group, 23% said that the gun they purchased in 2019 or 2020 was their very first gun.

              In other words, most of the guns purchased in 2020, when total sales were 60% higher than in 2019, were bought by people who were already gun owners which meant they were older, White men. The bottom line: “The number of new gun owners created 1 January 2019 to 26 April 2021, was sufficiently large (an estimated 7.5 million) and diverse (approximately half were female and almost half were people of color) to have a modest effect on the prevalence of firearm ownership and on the demographic profile of current gun owners. Note the word ‘modest.’

              When the researchers conducted a previous study of gun owners in 2015-2016, they found that the number of new owners in those years was only one-quarter as many as the number of people who bought their first gun in 2020-2021. In other words, the survey appears to show that the post-Pandemic gun-owning population is somewhat more diverse – gender-wise and racially – than what was typical of Gun-nut Nation before the Pandemic and the unrest precipitated by the murder of George Floyd.

              Our friends at The Trace have just published a long article which takes an in-depth look at this new gun-owning demographic and finds that “Black women are arming themselves – and pushing against stereotypes of who owns firearms.” The article is based on interviews with African-American women who attended a gun class held by the Phoenix chapter of the National African American Gun Association which claims to have 40,000 members nationwide.

              Don’t get me wrong. I’m in favor of diversity no matter where it occurs and where it is found. The only problem with promoting the idea of a more diverse gun-owning community is a problem which isn’t mentioned either by the Harvard-Northeastern research team or the reporter at The Trace. And the problem has to do with using and understanding the word ‘ownership’ when it comes to guns.

              Guns are the only consumer item which cannot be purchased or owned except by an adult who can pass an FBI-NICS background check. So, the fact that someone walks into a gun shop, buys a gun, and has his or her background validated by the FBI, doesn’t mean that the buyer is actually the person who is going to use that gun.

              This may come as a great shock to my friends in Gun-control Nation, but many of the individuals who walk into a gun shop and commit a felony by trying to buy a gun for someone else, don’t even know that what they are doing happens to be illegal as hell. I would love to see just one survey in which non-gun owners are asked to define a ‘straw’ sale.

              “Oh, he just forgot his glasses so he can’t fill out the form.” That’s the usual comment when someone reads Question 21a on Form 4473 which asks whether they are going to be the actual owner of the gun. And they aren’t lying, by the way. They just don’t know.

              My friends who do research or write media articles about guns often make the mistake of putting their brains in someone else’s head. With all due respect to how the Pandemic has fostered a new gun culture in the United States, I’m still waiting to see if it’s true.