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At least 5.4 million Americans legally purchased a firearm for the first time last year, according to the findings of an annual National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) survey. The trade association conducted the survey among firearm and ammunition retailers about their business sales in 2021 based on background checks and other information.
Among those surveyed, 29.6% said their customers were first-time gun buyers, down from 40% in 2020’s annual survey. In 2020, more than 21 million background checks were conducted for firearm sales, with over 8.4 million of them estimated to be for first-time firearm buyers.
First time sales among women in 2021 also was down compared to 2020, when 40% of first-time firearm purchases were women, compared to 33% last year.
“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,” Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president and CEO, said in a statement accompanying the survey findings.
“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,” he added. “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.”
A little over one-fifth, 22.8%, of first-time buyers last year came back for a second purchase, survey respondents found. Nearly 47% inquired about training and 43% signed up for training.
About 44% of retailers surveyed saw an increase in Black Americans purchasing firearms for the first time; nearly 40% saw an increase of first-time Hispanic purchasers; more than 27% saw an increase of first-time Asian purchasers.
In its 2020 survey, 58% of retailers surveyed saw an increase in first-time Black Americans purchasing firearms in 2020 compared to 2019; 49% saw an increase in first-time Hispanic purchasers; 43% saw an increase among first-time Asian purchasers.
Over 18% of retailers saw an increase of Native-Americans purchasing firearms in 2021; nearly 14% saw an increase of Native-Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders first-time purchasers.
The survey is released annually by the NSFF, a national organization dedicated to promoting the safe, responsible use of firearms. As a leading authority on gun safety, the organization provides a range of information, including safety kits, videos, literature and suicide prevention resources. It also created Project ChildSafe in 1999 to promote secure and responsible storage of firearms when they’re not in use to help prevent accidents, theft and suicides.
The findings were announced after NSFF presented its first “Woman of the Gun Award” this month. The recognition went to champion shooter and safety advocate Julie Golob for her shooting accomplishments and commitment to Project ChildSafe.
Golob began working with the project in 2013, lending her name and expertise to a host of firearm safety education efforts, ranging from social media campaigns to public appearances and videos, including a feature video on “how to talk to kids about gun safety.”
“I’m a huge advocate of passing on the tradition of safe and fun enjoyment of the shooting sports – they’re an indelible part of our heritage as a nation,” Golob said. “My whole family shares that heritage and all of us can take pride in the results of our collective work to promote gun safety and responsibility.”
In the past 30 years, she’s won more than 150 major championship titles, including more than 50 world and national titles. She’s also the first woman in history to win U.S. Practical Shooting Association Championships in all seven handgun divisions.
San Jose sued after City Council votes to force gun owners to have liability insurance, pay fee
The San Jose City Council voted Tuesday evening to force gun owners to pay a “harm reduction fee” and have liability insurance, and the city is already facing a lawsuit from the National Association for Gun Rights in response.
Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) celebrated the vote. “Tonight San Jose became the first city in the United States to enact an ordinance to require gun owners to purchase liability insurance, and to invest funds generated from fees paid by gun owners into evidence-based initiatives to reduce gun violence and gun harm,” he wrote in a statement.
“Thank you to my council colleagues who continue to show their commitment to reducing gun violence and its devastation in our community,” Liccardo said. He also thanked legal partners, including the Bloomberg-funded gun control groups EveryTown and Moms Demand Action, as well as Gifford Law Alliance.
Gun owners will be required to pay $25 every year in addition to city administrative costs, NBC Bay Area reports. Liccardo said the fee will be per household and not per gun.
Requiring insurance will also raise the price of owning a gun in San Jose. For example, the U.S. Concealed Carry Association offers insurance ranging from $29 to $49 a month. The city cited a Pacific Institute on Research and Evaluation study showing that firearm injuries cost San Jose residents $442 million on average each year.
“I look forward to supporting the efforts of others to replicate these initiatives across the nation,” he added.
The ordinance states that the harm reduction fee could go to suicide prevention, domestic violence programs, and other areas, but the city “shall not specifically direct how the monies … are expended.”
The National Foundation for Gun rights initially sent a cease-and-desist letter in July threatening to sue if the measure were passed in San Jose.
The organization calls the city ordnance “unconstitutional” and compares it to a “free speech tax” or a “church attendance tax.”
“If gun grabbers get away with taxing the right to own a gun, every left-leaning local government across the country will quickly follow,” the foundation states.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jamie was killed in the Parkland school shooting, applauded the measure. “For so many reasons, this law is one that I support and that should be the law across the United Sates [sic],” he said. “This law will save lives and hold those accountable who are irresponsible with their guns.”
Not everyone celebrated the move, however. Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was also killed in the Parkland school shooting, voiced his disapproval of the measure.
“San Jose, California has voted to require gun owners to pay a fee and carry liability insurance,” he tweeted. “Guess who won’t pay the fee and carry liability insurance? Criminals.”
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