First-time gun owners may have sweeping implications for swing states in November’s election.
Record Gun Sales in Pennsylvania
According to the WSJ’s William McGurn, in Pennsylvania, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reckons there are 276,648 first-time gun owners this year. To put this in perspective, in 2016 Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by 44,292 votes.
Although he doesn’t explicitly say the word, it’s easy to surmise from William McGurn that he is a “proud” member of the NRA. McGurn explains that his family’s decision to buy a gun introduced him to the side of the NRA most Americans never see: the education side.
The Hidden Side of the NRA
It’s not just the instruction that impresses. It’s the sheer American-ness of a private organization established to support a constitutional right in all its manifestations, from defending the Second Amendment legally and philosophically to instilling in newbies such as myself the respect for guns necessary to keep and use them safely. Not to mention a taste of the satisfaction that comes from mastering a new discipline.
The Department of Motor Vehicles vs the NRA
Surely if the government were to assume the functions the NRA provides, the experience would be akin to going to your local Department of Motor Vehicles. In America, by contrast, the ethos emphasizes private initiative and responsibility. In our new interactions with gun owners, gun instructors and owners of gun ranges, my wife and I have found them unfailingly eager to help and to answer even the dumbest questions.
5M New Gun Owners in 2020
This year a record five million law-abiding Americans, like us, have become new gun owners. Many don’t fit the stereotype: African-Americans account for the largest percentage jump in gun ownership, while women are 40% of first-time buyers. These new buyers join an even larger demographic: the 43% of American households that already have a gun.
The record gun sales for 2020 may have implications for swing states in November as well.
It’s apparent that McGurn no more hopes to use a gun to protect himself than I’d be willing to let Joe Biden sniff my hair. It’s unlikely, he expects, that he will ever reach for a gun to defend his home, his family, or himself.
But, he continues, “after watching the mayhem that’s taken over so many city streets I wonder, probably with plenty of my fellow first-time gun buyers, what alternative I’d have if ever I had to make that terrible 911 call—and it went unanswered?”