CV NEWS FEED // Gun sales skyrocketed starting last year, and according to a Washington Post report, many first-time gun buyers are members of the “anti-gun” political Left.
“In blue cities and red suburbs alike, firearms purchases soared last year — to the highest level in half a century, based on federal background checks,” the Washington Post reported. “A striking portion of those sales went to first-time gun buyers — 40 percent, according to the firearms industry’s trade association.”
Americans cite a number of reasons for the new gun purchases. Buyers and sellers who spoke to the Post mentioned Black Lives Matter riots, COVID-19 lockdown orders, and the heated rhetoric of both Republican and anti-gun Democratic leaders as inciting incidents.
“Shakima Thomas, a social worker in Newark, had always thought of guns as loud and dangerous — nothing she wanted anything to do with,” the Post reported. Thomas, a “lifelong Democrat,” first considered getting a gun when Donald Trump was elected. She didn’t buy her first gun, however, until “last summer, when the killing of Floyd and the protests that spread across the nation made Thomas feel like the country was spiraling out of control, ‘like the world was in an apocalypse.’”
Thomas now owns an AR-15 and a handgun. “I never felt like I would want to own a gun because of the damage I thought they do to people,” Thomas said. “But when I started feeling unsafe, all of that changed.”
Thomas “agrees with the cause that peaceful protesters promoted last summer, yet the chaos and destruction she saw in her city and around the country pushed her to take action to defend herself,” the Post explained.
Michael Cargill, who owns a gun shop in Austin, TX, noticed an increase in the number of minority customers last year. Last summer “you had the protests and downtown was basically boarded up. Law enforcement all went downtown. Right away, we had lines out the door every day,” Cargill told the Post:
“It didn’t matter if you were Democrat or Republican, White or Black,” said Cargill, who is Black. “One side said, ‘Trump’s going to be reelected and it’s going to get violent,’ and the other said, ‘Biden’s going to win and he’s going to come after the guns.’ My instructors and I became like gun therapists for people who never had guns before or really didn’t like guns. One lady came in here in tears, with her teenagers, and she said, ‘This goes against everything I believe in, but I need my family to learn how to protect themselves.’”
There were many women among last year’s first-time gun buyers, the Post reported, including “Black city dwellers such as Karen Williams-Adir, a former Los Angeles bus driver who now writes fiction….”
Williams-Adir also said President Trump’s rhetoric made her feel unsafe enough to consider a firearm purchase. “But it wasn’t until the Floyd killing and the explosion of anguish that followed that Williams-Adir decided to buy a gun,” according to the Post. “What happened to George Floyd just flipped my wig,” she said. “It was just too hysterical. People were on edge. Enough was enough. I figured, if you want to come to my home and do harm to me for any reason, you might not ever go home again to yours.”
Jabril Battle of Los Angeles was “anti-gun” “all his life,” according to the Post. “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,” he said.
The government lockdowns and resulting shortages played a role in changing Battle’s mind, he said. He imagined nightmare scenarios in which he might have to defend his property. When he did buy a gun, Battle also worried about how police might view him, an armed black man, in a traffic stop.
“Once I started being around guns more, and I kind of saw the culture and the environment, I’m falling in love,” he said, however.
Another first-time gun owner whom the Post profiled was Savannah Grace, a transgender activist who bought a firearm after a police officer pointed a gun at him during one of last summer’s Leftist protests. Grace “doesn’t expect to use the weapon,” the Post reported:
But when she’s going to a protest where she expects to be near “right-wing gun owners,” she carries openly, “just to be, like, ‘Hey, we both have these, let’s keep our distance.’” Other than her attitude toward guns, Grace’s politics haven’t changed, but she’s had to alter the way she thinks of herself: She now defines herself as a gun person “who hates gun people.”
In 2020, the Post reported, gun sales jumped “50 percent among Black customers, 47 percent among Hispanics and 43 percent among Asian Americans….”
Charrie Wexler and husband Brandon Wexler, who operate Wex Gunworks in Delray Beach, FL, told the Post they saw “a massive increase in women, Blacks, Asians, transgender people” after the COVID-19 lockdowns began in 2020:
“They started coming in when there was all that talk of defunding the police and when people didn’t know what covid would mean and worried that people might come to their homes trying to get their supplies.” “It was like watching one of those end-of-the-world movies,” Brandon said. “You saw fear.” “Fear on top of fear on top of fear,” Charrie said. “Women, especially, would say, ‘I don’t believe in guns, I don’t like them, but the world has gone crazy.’”
Readers can find the full report here.