The Unintended Consequences of New Gun Owners

| July 11, 2021

Another record setting year for the firearm industry in 2020. Using adjusted FBI NICS data as a proxy for actual sales, the data showed an enormous 60 percent increase in firearm ownership over 2019. The record 21+ million adjusted background checks this last year blew the previous record high out of the water- easily topping the 15.7 million set in 2016 by 34 percent. Recent data shows that around 40 percent of firearm purchasers in 2020 were buying their first gun, which equates to more than 8 million first-time gun owners.
So who are they? And why?

Poetrooper sends.

The Politics of Gun Ownership Change as Millions of First-Time, ‘Anti-Gun’ Americans Bought Firearms

By Dan Zimmerman

According to a Washington Post article, the percentage of Americans who own guns has jumped from 32% to 39% in the past year. That’s due to huge waves of new, first-time gun owners, of all political and cultural persuasions, deciding that owning a firearm is a good idea.

For many new gun owners, though, the decision to arm themselves is a political pivot — an accumulation of anxieties that led them to discard long-held beliefs. It’s a decision that is particularly difficult for people who belong to groups at higher risk of being on the wrong end of gun violence.

Battle, a 28-year-old account representative at a financial services company in Los Angeles, had always believed that “anyone who had a gun was a gun nut,” he said. “I really bought into the whole idea that the more people have guns … the more likely it is for people to start killing each other.”

But as the pandemic paralyzed the nation, Battle said, “I just saw how crazy people got.” He found himself conjuring the worst scenarios: “I was like, if my block has 10 houses, how many people in these houses have guns? If the food and water gets cut off, [if] supplies run out … what does that look like? Is this going to be a ‘Mad Max’ situation? Like ‘The Walking Dead,’ but not with the zombies?

“I was just, like, ‘Do I want to be the person who has a gun or doesn’t have a gun?”


Still, he had reservations: “Being Black with a gun is a very high risk, a way higher risk than other races,” he said. “You are seen as a threat without a gun, and with a gun you are seen as a super threat.”

I don’t see Jamal, or any other hue, as a particular threat until they act like one. Col. Cooper has a color code that works well, and “Black” isn’t one of them.

Col Cooper’s Color Code

My concern is have these noobs had some sort of training? I’m glad to see more people taking responsibility for their protection, and a big part of that responsibility is safety.

Go to a range for training on the safe handling and use of the weapon, and know your State and local laws. One last thing- shooting is fun. Welcome to your citizenship.


Thanks, Poe.

Category: Guest Link, Guns, Legal

Comments (35)

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  1. Hate_me says:

    It’s sad how little training is required for carry permits. The best trainers actually give folks a familiarization, but that’s it.

    A greater concern is how little training is required for a drivers license. Cars are much more deadly than firearms, and driving today is much different than it was in the 80s – but the test has changed little over the last 40 years, and all you need to renew is an eye test.

    • Graybeard says:

      That depends greatly upon the state standards each individual state establishes.

      Texas has a competency test – make a minimum score at various distances. Others have more, others have less.

      Nevertheless, the 2nd Amendment establishes no ‘competency’ standard. The right to keep and bear arms is defended by the 2nd A. – the responsibility to exercise that right in a competent manner is upon the one exercising his or her right and not granted or endowed by the government.

  2. MustangCryppie says:

    “My concern is have these noobs had some sort of training?”


    I moved to Nevada at the end of last year and took a CCW class in May. An almost total waste of time for someone with military and police experience and who already had a CCW from Florida, but take it I did. The class on Nevada law was valuable, but that was it.

    Hate_me is absolutely right. There is no training in safely manipulating a firearm and it showed when we went to the range.

    The range was an eye-opening and scary experience. Many of the people were okay in handling their firearms, but two of them absolutely terrified me.

    These two people were REQUALIFYING to RENEW their Nevada CCWs! One had to have one of the instructors load the gun for them! The second obviously hadn’t even looked at her pistol in the five years since her last CCW class. It was UGLY.

    I doubt many Nicky Newguys are on this blog when it comes to firearms, but if there are, please, please, please take a class which deals only with safely handling a gun. Get some tactical training, learn how to deal with stovepipes, etc, and practice what you learn.

    And learn the laws of your state and locality cold. Failing that you may be surprised when you get hooked up for breaking one of those laws.

    After I did all those things, next I got an insurance policy from USCCA. Choose the company best for you, but get one. If you are in a shooting incident you are gonna need it!

    • FuzeVT says:

      I’m a gun enthusiast, very much pro-2nd Amendment, and qualified expert pistol in the USMC 10 times (dicked the dog a couple of times – including at TBS in the single digit temps – much to my chagrin). I will add for the record, I’m glad I’ve left the M9 in my wake for good.

      With that said, I live in Texas where we have recently passed permitless carry that goes into effect in September. Works for me, I guess, since I hadn’t gotten a permit yet and looks like I won’t have to. I am a bit concerned about those that will now carry that don’t know what the hell they are doing.

      Permitless carry has worked (it would seem) in 16 or so other states, so I’m interested to see how it goes. As of right now, however, I’m not as comfortable as I would like to be for the reasons listed in the posts above.

      • Graybeard says:

        Just remember FuzeVT, that permitless or constitutional carry – even in Texas – does not let you carry everywhere the LTC will let you carry.

        I’m in Texas, too, and gonna keep my LTC up, thank you very much.

  3. USAFRetired says:

    Even supposedly trained individuals some times don’t learn. I was reading an article yesterday accompanied with pictures. Apparently, a Lt with the capitol hill police left his issue Glock in the bathroom unsecured this week, and it is alleged he fired shots on 6 Jan.

    A photo accompanying the article included a picture taken 6 Jan that had multiple officers in a crowd with weapons drawn. And one of these folks in the back of the crowd had his booger hook inside the trigger guard of the weapon. Since a Glock has no external safety other than the trigger, methinks this guy needs remedial training.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      I doubt that the US Capitol Police care much anymore about competency, my bet is that they place political affiliation much higher than that when they consider an applicant!

    • rgr769 says:

      That individual was the Capitol Police LT who is reported to have shot Ashli Babbitt. In the photo you reference, he is seen with his finger on the trigger of his Glock as he is pointing its muzzle at the back of another officer. He needs more than remedial training, he should be fired. But he is the wrong hue and political affiliation for that.

      One thing about Cowboy Action Shooting, you learn about muzzle awareness. A couple of muzzle sweeps, even with an unloaded gun, of your shooting compadres at a match and you will be promptly run off the range.

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        Under SASS rules, one sweep of a person with a loaded gun and its a Match DQ. The MDQ recipient is welcome to stick around, but the guns have to be put away in the vehicle.

        Unloaded gun sweep is a Stage DQ. You can keep shooting, but your score for that stage is maxed out (Last place). Two “stage” = “match”.

        A habit of sweeps will get a person uninvited. In 20 years of participation, I have seen that happen twice. Frequent or belligerent arguing about match official calls also results in banning. Seen a few of those, too

        It’s not a “hard ass” culture of rules. It is, however, rather intolerant of repeat “dumbass”.

        It is also a very fun sport, suitable for all ages from child to geezer.

        “Cowboy” attire is also -way- cooler than “tacticool”.

      • USAFRetired says:

        Thats the one. Maybe he is going to head up one of the Capitol Hill precincts in California or Florida

  4. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Note: if you have to meet a government-mandated “training standard” , then it isn’t a Right, it’s a privilege.

    The mandate of “training” for concealed carry is rent-seeking by the trainers.

    Bearing Arms is a -Right-.

    Do we mandate “training” for Church? Public speaking? Public assembly? Blog posts?

    Right versus privilege.

    “But they might do it wrong!” Then punish the guilty who do actual harm.

    • USAFRetired says:

      When Oklahoma first implemented the concealed carry permit there was a training requirement. They actually had multiple permits depending on whether it was a pistol, revolver, or derringer. A state legislator and veteran pushed to have military qual to meet the training requirement. Training for a semi-auto pistol met requirement for all three. I don’t know how that has evolved as I left there 24 years ago
      Anytime the Government can suspend your rights whenever there is a “crisis”, you don’t have rights, you have permissions

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        Most military folks I know spent very little time training with a handgun, or any other personal weapon.

        Certainly not to “gunfight under civilian rules” standards. Or, even military rules.

        A relative used me as “control group” for training of police and others. I was shocked at how poorly some “pros” handled force-on-force. Even on basic “hit that target” standards.

        So I see no tremendous qualification value in a DD-214.

        Go get trained. By qualified folks will good rep. And learn the rules from something other than blogs and ” our-range-guru”.

        You bet your life.

        Hey! Idea. Go to driving school. Most folks dont actually know how to drive. They just, so far, miss the other drivers. Have you ever deliberately slid your vehicle to a total spin-out out on ice or wet pavement? Practice desperation braking on same? Educational.

        • USAFRetired says:

          I grew up around the Marine Corps and received an education in firearm safety and marksmanship at home. My Boy Scout Troop was at Parris Island and the adult leadership were Marines as well. I shot competitively (bullseye) in College. Bottom line I was safe and could hold my own on the square range.

          In the early 90s attended Gunsite in Arizona for their basic pistol course (250) and later their carbine course (223). Several of the instructors were former Marines, and I got to meet Col Jeff Cooper and absorb some learning from him.

          I don’t practice as much as I’d like but have the confidence that if I can’t avoid trouble I can safely defend myself and my family.

          The AF qual course is patterend after what Gunsite does, but you can’t expect a lot from something that is over by lunch time of Day 1. In the mid 90s my entire crew was scheduled for requal on the same day and I got to see first hand who not to trust with a loaded weapon. That came in handy later on.

          • 11B-Mailclerk says:

            Definitely some folks did better on handling and skills. I spent three days as a role player for simunitions, for over 150 LEOs of various sorts. The pair of Marines from Embassy duty were impressive on the “gun” side, (as expected, I hotshot bits) but never even tried to use their radio.

            Of 150 skilled experienced LEI folks, exactly two called for assistance. The scenario and scene screamed for backup. The “roommates having violent domestic” scenario setup included “they have been beating the he’ll out of each other” ,”I heard a gunshot”, and we had guns and knives all over the room, clearly visible.

            Two used their radio, both before knocking. The setup made clear reference to the radio they were handed along with their sim-gun, etc.

            -two- of 150.


        • My first handling of firearms started with the Daisy model 25 BB gun rifle then joining the Navy back in 1963 fired all the small arms out at sea for Quals and of course, I got qualified into the M-1 thumb club. In the inactive Navy Reserve, we used to go up to Camp Smith and fire the Garands. I joined the NYNG from 1975-1977 and did a lot of shooting down in Ft Dix and Ft Drum. Did a lot of comp shooting while on the Brink’s pistol team in Police L (bullseye) and combat matches. We also had to be NYS certified to carry a handgun years later after from what I heard, their were AD’s from security guards which we at Brinks were not. We were teamsters (local 807,814)involved in the transportation of currency and valuables but since the state didn’t have a course for that kind of work, we were classified as security guards. Learning how to drive a car was difficult for me starting with my Dad who was a screamer so I went to a driving instructor and on the way to the test sight near the Van Wycke expressway I side swiped a parked car which no one saw so we made it to the test site where I failed the test. Months later I went to a driving school on Merrick road in Lynbrook LI called Mattys where I learned how to drive. My instructor told me that all the other instructors had money on if I would pass the test. The instructor was great. When the test officer said to parralel park, He saw me backing up using the “clock” method and he didn’t even let
          me finish and says lets go with a passing test grade. The one time I almost aced the drivers test before the CDL came into vogue was when the company got the trucks fitted with a heavier chassis or body and the upgrade brought it into the classified chauffers from un classified chauffers. I was taking the driving test and the testing officer has me make a left turn and I lost the one or two parts on the scoring because I had a bad habit of shifting the gears as I was making the turn. Both hands on the wheel when turning so I didn’t ace it. Get those RPMS up on some of our 3 axle 20 gear trucks, pop up the split shifter and give it the old speed shift and jump a set of gears. Long time ago so I hope I said it all correctly.

        • SFC D says:

          Agreed, 11-B. Arizona requires no training for a CCW if a valid DD-214 is submitted. The assumption is that all veterans are trained in handgun use. In 24 years of active federal service, I qualified on the 1911 once and the M-2 once. Oh yeah, I’m trained. My assumption is that outside of MP’s, most veterans have even less pistol training than I did. Not a big fan of the 214 training waiver.

        • timactual says:

          ” I see no tremendous qualification value in a DD-214. ”


          ” Have you ever deliberately slid your vehicle to a total spin-out out on ice…”

          Yes, actually. When I lived in New England I would find a parking lot (empty, of course) at the first snowfall of the year and do intentional spins and skids. Now that I live in deep suburban MD I don’t really bother. By the time I can get to a parking lot I already have enough practice.

  5. A Proud Infidel®™️ says:

    One thing about this that I’m sure is scaring the left is that many inner city types and minorities are a big part of this first time owner crowd and they see it as an erosion of the crowd they’ve taken for granted over the decades!

  6. FuzeVT says:

    “I was just, like, ‘Do I want to be the person who has a gun or doesn’t have a gun?”

    Still, he had reservations: “Being Black with a gun is a very high risk, a way higher risk than other races,” he said. “You are seen as a threat without a gun, and with a gun you are seen as a super threat.”

    No – if you’re a black guy without a gun, I think you’re a guy without a gun. If you’re a black guy with a gun, you’re a guy with a gun.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      That only applies if you are not in Chicago. In Chicago, a black dude with a gun is a gangbanger, period. He may also be a dead issue. Random shootings on the Dan Ryan Expressway are increasing and the po-po can’t keep up with it, never mind the drive-by shootings in neighborhoods.

      For updates, tune in online to WGN News Live every night and every morning. It appears that some of the drive-bys are merely target practice, for later use.

      EXTREMELY glad I do not live in that city any more.

    • USAFRetired says:

      The Dilbert reminds me of one of the visiting instructors at Gunsite. From memory he was a Capt in the Indiana State Police. Sitting around the campfire one evening he told the story about his daughters college boyfriend who asked him if he was a prepper. He responded “No, I’ve got a pistol, a rifle and a shotgun, I’m just going to take your shit”

  7. MI Ranger says:

    So Mr. Battle fails to understand that to perceive a threat one must observe why it is threatening.

    He claims “Being Black with a gun is a very high risk, a way higher risk than other races”. However, the whole point of concealed carry is that no one should know if you are armed or not. In fact in some less conservative locations it is considered a crime to reveal that you are armed…or at least “Karen” can get away with calling the police and say you scared her!

    The new Sheriff in Blazing Saddles said to the towns people of Johnson City, that would never be said when it comes to Concealed Carry: It should either stay concealed or come out quick and silent until its work is done!

  8. CDR D says:

    My late brother was anti-gun at one time. He’d ask, “whaddya need ’em for?”

    Then one night at oh-dark-thirty someone broke into his house.

    What a pivot. Ran right out and got a 9mm. He did know how to use guns, so he wasn’t a neophyte. Retired LTC and VN vet, 1st Air Cav and 11th ACR.

  9. Martinjmpr says:

    I read the same article this weekend (not the TTAG one but the one that the TTAG article referenced.)

    Unfortunately there are people in the “gun community” who think this is a good thing. Like if someone buys a gun then sooner or later he’s going to join the NRA and start voting Republican.

    In reality, too many people think “having a gun” is like having some magical talisman that will ward off evil all by itself. Like it exudes a force field that will surround your house. They don’t get training and God knows they never practice because, hey, we all watch TV so we know how to use a gun, right?

    So what happens to these “new gun owners?” They throw the gun into a drawer and forget about it. And then maybe their 12 year old kid finds it and shoots his pal. Or the home is burglarized and now there’s another stolen gun on the streets.

    • USAFRetired says:

      Back before my weapons sank into Wassaw sound in a tragic boating incident I kept them in a 700 pound gun safe because of my kids. I teach them the four basic rules, but I know kids will be kids. Besides with 96 pounds of German Shepherd I figured I’d have ample warning.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      Not many folks have practiced putting out a trash or grease fire with home extinguisher, either. I have and do.

      • AW1Ed says:

        I once used a box of baking soda to put a stovetop fire out, and haven’t been without a home fire extinguisher since.

        • 11B-Mailclerk says:

          One can also purchase auto-extinguishers for the stove. These are the size of a large can of tuna, attach to the vent hood with a magnet, and pop dry chemical when overheated by a fire.

          Cheap insurance.

    • ArmyATC says:

      I agree and will go one step further. Many, perhaps most of those new gun owners purchased out of fear. They most likely aren’t 2nd Amendment supporters and would still vote for “gun control.” I predict many, many “used” guns hitting the market over the next few years, having never been fired once, as many of those new owners get over their fear and decide they don’t need that evil gun anymore. Still others will be “Fudds” who think it perfectly acceptable to ban “assault rifles” (who needs them anyway?) and other firearms thinking the government would never come after theirs.

      • Martinjmpr says:

        I don’t worry about the ones that will be sold, I worry about the ones that will be forgotten, lost, stolen, etc.

        The gun controllers are right about one thing: Almost all “illegal” guns were “legal” guns at one point. I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable about saying that one of the most important responsibilities of a “responsible gun owner” is the responsibility of making sure your firearms are secured so they don’t fall into the wrong hands.

        Just like the military, guns should either be in the gun owner’s physical control (i.e. in a holster or other container that is within the immediate area of the owner) or in a locked, secure container such as a gun safe, security cabinet, etc.

        And BTW that goes for gun STORES too. Our local NRA group came out with a hysterical missive about a recent law passed in our city that requires gun dealers to secure their inventory.

        What they didn’t mention is that this law came about after the same gun store had been burglarized not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES by thieves using the simple method of stealing a car and then ramming that car into the store when it was closed, and stealing the display guns. And not only did that happen at this gun store it happened at multiple stores throughout the Denver area – many of them, also, more than once.

        The lesson here should be: Don’t want persnickety laws getting all up in your business? Then act like a responsible person and secure your weapons.

  10. Martinjmpr says:

    What this article DOES show, interestingly enough, is the connection between the PERCEPTION of danger and the ownership of firearms.

    It’s ironic that we “assume” that Big Media organizations are “anti gun” and want to push a pro-gun control narrative. That they want to discourage people from buying guns. Some of these news organizations will even say this outright.

    But the constant fear-mongering of “GUNS! GUNS! GUNS!” just creates a mood in which people are fearful (whether they should be or not) and what is the logical step that people take when they are fearful of crime?

    Why, they arm themselves, of course!

    • David says:

      Random thoughts on several of the above:

      The media screams “guns Guns GUNZ!”because it sells. They no more care about the effects of their screams than they care that all the incessant microinspection and notoriety of mass killers begets more mass killers. It sells.

      Some of the people who acquire guns shouldn’t. Constitutional rights, blah blah blah, fine: but idiots exist and buy guns.

      Texas has ‘Constitutional carry’ yet I rarely see it. Of the few times I have, all but one seemed to fall under the “lookee ME I’m such a badass!” type. I know many, many who can and do carry concealed.

      Most folks, cops included, shoot like crap. Oddly, rookie cops seem to shoot better, probably because they recently trained up for initial qualification. Many veteran cops can barely hit paper.

      “Beng black with a gun is more dangerous” and “if you are black with a gun you are a gangbanger”…. sigh.

  11. Poetrooper says:

    Almost everything ol’ Poe reads about personal defense occurrences where firearms are used involves very close distances between the defenders and the perps and reaction times are measured in seconds rather than minutes.

    One of the expert LE’s who writes for the NRA recently confirmed that, stating that in most personal defense events, the defensive shooter is far more likely to simply point the weapon at the offender and fire without ever attempting to employ the sights, be they iron, optical or whatever. In such situations, a laser is probably more useful than any form of precision sighting.

    Many of us here have more firearms handling experience and better shooting skills than most Americans, which tends to make us quick to dismiss the neophytes with minimal gun usage experience.

    Yet the reality remains that far more people are shot by criminal types with inferior, poorly-maintained weapons and little to no training, than by those of us with many hours of range time with our highly-maintained, technologically superior weaponry.

    As for mishaps, a very small percentage of firearms deaths occur by accident and a high percentage of those is by children. Granted, that figure is no doubt going to increase with more households being armed, but hopefully, so will the number of righteous shootings by those heads of household defending themselves, their families and their property.

    Rather than fretting over an increase in accidental shootings, experienced shooters should be celebrating this awakening to reality by many who have previously opposed gun ownership. Virtually everyone who is a regular at TAH knows the increased sense of confidence and general wellbeing that being armed brings.

    Perhaps as more millions of Americans experience the loss of that helplessness that liberal politicians want them to feel as a means of governmental dependence and control, these newly-armed citizens will begin to question other “truths” that they have been led to believe all their lives.