The Profile of a Woman Gun OwnerWho is she?
Even if the most stable of times, American gun ownership steadily increases each year. In fact, Americans own more guns per capita than any other country. According to the 2021 National Firearms Survey, 32% of Americans say they personally own a firearm, and if you include those who responded they live in a household with a gun, that number jumps to 41%. However, the past few years, the woman gun owner has been on the rise.
For decades, surveys have found that only 10-20% of gun owners were women. According to the 2020 National Sports Shooting Foundation Firearms Retailer Survey:
“During the first half of 2020, retailers noted that the overall makeup of their customers consisted of 55.8 percent white males, and 16.6 percent white females.”
However, since 2020, this statistic has certainly changed! In addition to the pandemic, issues related to social injustice and a contested election have contributed to this number has not only changing but also changing shape, as far as who is purchasing firearms. Now, according to the 2021 National Firearms Survey, 42% of women of all gun owners are female. This is a sharp increase from prior to 2019, as stated above, less than 20% of all gun owners reported were women. Not only that, according to the survey, nearly half of all first-time gun buyers are women. That means nearly 3.5 million American women became first-time firearm owners.
Why More Woman Gun Owners?
Why the sudden jump in women owning guns? We can attribute these numbers to not only fears driven by the pandemic but also protests, fear of being caught in a riot, as well as the divisive atmosphere spurred by the 2020 election. The firearms training website, A Girl & A Gun, conducted a survey of more than 6,000 members in July 2020 to specifically focus on women’s reasons and interest in gun ownership. They also followed up with a follow-up survey of new first-time gun owners asking specifically what spurred them into seeking firearms training.
The results are interesting:
14% Riots/fear of mobs and civil unrest
12% Upcoming elections/concern of bans
12% Urged by family member/friend
8% Just learned about training opportunities
8% New firearm in the household
8% Lack of law enforcement resources
7% Pandemic/uncertainty of access to essentials
7% Fear of targeted violence/discrimination
7% Rising unemployment/fear of crime
6% Recent safety/crime experience
4% Quarantine boredom/try something fun
3% Ammo shortage/concern of waiting
3% Stimulus check provided the opportunity
So what else do we know about the woman gun owner? Let’s take a look at her demographic information, according to a survey conducted by The Well Armed Woman.
As you might expect, the woman gun owner is mature. Her age ranges from 45-65. This could be for a number of reasons:
- Older generations were raised during a time when guns were more accepted
- Older women have access to more discretionary funds
- Older women are less influenced by public opinion
Interestingly, most women who own a gun are either married or in a domestic relationship and combined income equals 100k or more.
Most people would be surprised to hear that gun ownership spans many races. Note that gun purchases have become increasingly diverse. The National Firearms survey concludes for those who personally own a gun:
When you include entire households, we find that 47% of White, 37% of Black, 26% of Hispanic, and 20% of Asian households in America own at least one firearm.
Most of the country is tied for 45% of gun ownership by state. However, in New England, this number falls to 27%.
More interestingly, while one would think urban dwellers would be more likely to own a gun, it is actually the opposite. A greater share of the population owns firearms in rural communities at about 58% of households. This is followed by the suburbs at 41% of households and urban areas at 29% of households.
Republicans are more supportive of gun ownership than Democrats, and Independents fall somewhere in between.
However, divisive issues are still very much hotly debated and controversial, such as support for background checks on private ownership and bans on assault weapons, and fall across party lines.
While one might think most of these new gun owners had grown up around guns, the opposite is true! All of the women who participated in the New Shooter Survey were new to firearms training, but surprisingly the data also showed that most were completely new to guns altogether!
More than half (52%) did not grow up with firearms in the home. Some had firearms in the home but didn’t shoot (33%), and some had not shot a gun since they were children (15%).
Number of Guns Owned
Most women own 1-2 guns coming in at a total of 46%.
The number tapers off, but believe it or not, 5% of women own 10 or more guns!
As you can see, the women gun owners are very diverse! There is no one “type” of woman who is more likely to own a gun. Women of all walks of life are purchasing guns for a wide range of reasons.
The one thing that should be the same for all women, however, is proper firearm training. Pew Pew Guru offers classes in Personal Protection, Firearm Training, CCW classes, and Security.
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