Guns' newest fans? Women and older Americans

Both groups are playing a key role in rising firearm profits, but buyers are mostly those who have previously owned guns.

By Jason Notte Feb 25, 2013 5:03PM
Owner of Ade's Gun Shop, Emily Atkinson, shoulders a Stag Arms 5.56 AR-15 rifle at her shop on Jan. 2, 2013 ( Jebb Harris/The Orange County Register/ZUMA Press/Corbis)If you're a woman or can remember the Kennedy Administration, you're the gun industry's new target audience.

The rush to buy guns, magazines and various other firearm ephemera before Congress decides on new gun laws has cast a wide net around first-time buyers.


According to Reuters and the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, women and older Americans were the key growth areas when mandatory background checks for firearm sales at U.S. gun stores rose nearly 50% year-over year-year in December.


That doesn't mean more folks from each demographic were buying guns, however. In 1977, the University of Chicago's nationwide General Social Survey showed that 54% of American households reported owning guns. By 2010, the last time the survey data was compiled, reported gun ownership fell to 32%. A 2011 Gallup survey suggested that 23% of U.S. women owned guns, though the General Society Survey says that number is closer to 10%.


No, this likely means that both women and older Americans who own guns are buying a whole lot more of them. The guns they're buying have changed, though. Philip Mincey, an employee at DCM Consulting and Firearms in Longs, S.C., told Reuters that assault rifles and semi-automatic hand guns have jumped from 40% of total gun sales just a few years ago to about 75% now.


Yet both investors and those within the gun industry have doubts about the recent run on guns, which began after a deadly shooting last summer at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and intensified after the massacre of elementary school students in Newtown, Conn.


A few days after the Newtown killings, private equity company Cerberus Capital Management sold gun maker Freedom Group, whose Bushmaster AR-15 rifle was used in the school shootings (a point that continues to be argued by a few gun-rights proponents), after pressure from the California State Teachers' Retirement System. Earlier this month, New York City's teacher pension fund and California Public Employees' Retirement System sold their investments in several gun makers.


Meanwhile, President Barack Obama's proposals to curb gun violence, including enhanced background checks and a ban on military-style firearms, have been enough to make even gun buyers believe they stand a chance of passing. Though gun companies are struggling to keep up with demand, the lingering sense of dread felt by gun owners likely won't be assuaged by demographic data and sales to their fellow gun-toting friends.


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17Comments
Feb 25, 2013 7:35PM
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Of course people are buying semi automatic rifles.  People who have had one on their wish list for years are finally realizing that it is now or never.  And you'd better get two or three so that you can give one to your children too.  These rifles are not cheap, so people who have been saying, "I'll get one when I have some extra money," are trying to get them now becasue the government is taking about taking away their right to buy one in the future.  Hopefully these misguided bills never become law, but if they do, those that snoozed will lose.

Feb 25, 2013 7:52PM
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Isn't it wonderful that the  government keeps track of all the old people buying guns.  What a great way to spend gov. resources.    NOT
Feb 26, 2013 12:32AM
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I've read in several articles that gun owners are just buying more guns, but from my trips to the range that does not seem to be correct.

 

I've seen more new shooters in the past three or four years at ranges then I seen in the past ten. At times I can't get over the number of young people I see at the range.  My brother is a NRA instructor and most of his classes consist of first time gun owners, many of them women, women who never owned a gun before. 

 

I suspect  when people are asked if they own a firearm they state no!

Feb 26, 2013 11:38AM
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LimoPat:

?? What made you infer that I live in a ghetto and look over my shoulder?

And what significance would that have anyway?

Are you projecting your own fears on people you don't know?

All I stated is that it makes sense for people to buy certain rifles now because they may not be available later.  You added the part about fearing my neighborhood or my neighbors, and my life being a "mess".

Does your "gated community" make you feel safe from all of the scary humans?

Feb 26, 2013 1:50PM
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Guns have brought my family closer together.
Feb 26, 2013 9:49AM
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Get Ready for an new SO CALLED Drone "TEST Facility" near by. YES...! They pass it off as :"THOUSANDS OF POTENTIAL JOBS" but they want to have 18 nation wide DRONE Military testing facilities. WHY DO THEY NEED 18 DRONE TEST FACILITIES NATION WIDE ? GET READY THE COLLAPSE IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN..... THE LAST PIECES OF THE PUZZLE ARE BEING PUT INTO PLACE...... OBUMER JUST SIGNED THE DRONE AUTHORIZED TO KILL AMERICANS IN FOREIGN LAND ....NEXT IS A GOOD FALSE FLAG SCENARIO TO DO IT HERE DOMESTICALLY...!! GET READY THE NEXT BIG FALSE FLAG IS AROUND THE CORNER........AND ITS GOING TO PUSH US INTO TOTAL COLLAPSE AND SOCIALIST TYRANNY ....!!! GET READY BECAUSE IT IS COMING...by 2014...!
Feb 26, 2013 2:34PM
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MIRAGE GUY:You have a right to your wrong ideas and lies and

your gay lifestyle.

Feb 26, 2013 9:01AM
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Great.  Hordes of untrained, feeble and weak individuals with weapons.

I fear them more than criminals.  Don't get me wrong.  I have guns.

But if you don't know how to use it and the laws WHEN you CAN use it, you got no more business having it than going out an buying an airplane.  You're gonna kill yourself and others.

Feb 25, 2013 11:20PM
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FREE HUMAN: what inter city do you live in?Lack of education is why your life is a

mess.Keep looking over your shoulder in your ghetto.

Feb 25, 2013 6:31PM
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Never underestimate the stupidity of the American  public. 
Feb 25, 2013 11:17PM
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You`re suppose to work your way through college like I did and buy a house in a gated

community, like I did, where there is no crime.People can leave their houses and cars

unlocked, because everybody respects each other and their property.

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