NEW YORK TIMES: Why Did Americans Legally Buy So Many Guns During 2020?
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From the New York Times news section:

Why Some Americans Buy Guns

Social scientists are just beginning to understand who is purchasing firearms and how gun ownership may alter behavior.

By Roni Caryn Rabin
June 23, 2023

In 2020, while many communities were under Covid lockdowns, protesters were flooding the streets and economic uncertainty and social isolation were deepening, Americans went on a shopping spree. For firearms.

Some 22 million guns were sold that year, 64 percent more than in 2019. More than eight million of them went to novices who had never owned a firearm, according to the firearm industry’s trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

… Who started buying guns?

Millions of Americans who had never owned a gun purchased a firearm during a two-and-a-half-year period that began in January 2019, before the pandemic, and continued through April 2021.

Of the 7.5 million people who bought their first firearm during that period, 5.4 million had until then lived in homes without guns, researchers at Harvard and Northeastern University estimated.

The new buyers were different from the white men who have historically made up a majority of gun owners. Half were women, and nearly half were people of color (20 percent were Black, and 20 percent were Hispanic).

Why did Americans decide to buy guns?

Self-defense is the top reason Americans purchase handguns. …

A study of individuals who said they were planning to purchase a first or second firearm during the early days of the pandemic found that would-be buyers were more likely to see the world as dangerous and threatening than individuals who were not planning to purchase a firearm.

Driving down Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank past the gun stores, the John Nash–style Gun Run, I noticed a whole lot of men with gold chains lined up on the sidewalk to get into the shops first in March 2020, then in June 2020. The first group was there because they anticipated that something bad would happen. The second group was there because something bad had happened: the powers that be had pretty much legalized looting after George Floyd’s death.

The good news is that the Racial Reckoning’s mostly peaceful protests tended to be restricted to emptying out big-box retailers and boutiques rather than extend to home invasions. Of course, a massively relevant question is whether America’s relatively low rate of home invasions is due to widespread gun ownership.

But don’t expect to see that researched.

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