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Gun sales surge among women, certain minority groups

Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 1:15 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Guns are flying off the shelves. It’s been that way since the start of the pandemic. But sales aren’t slowing down, and there’s been a surge in sales, among certain groups.

New gun sale surveys show women and certain minority groups are buying more guns.

We wanted to find out what’s pushing more people, to take-up arms.

Members of the Lowcountry Annie Oakley’s gun club shoot for sport. They’re more focused on community than self-defense. But even they are seeing a jump in membership these days.

Co-chair Nancy Thomas carries herself.

“I think it’s just part of the unrest in the country, and women want to feel comfortable with a gun, in case they ever in any situation had to use one,” Thomas said.

Amy Baker just officially opened her gun shop, AV Arms, in Richmond Hill this month. She’s seen the spike in sales among women first-hand.

“I think it’s comforting for a female to walk in the door and buy a gun from another female,” Baker said.

The FBI tracks gun sales in the U.S.

In 2019, roughly 14 million guns were sold nationwide.

In 2020, that number jumped to nearly 23 million.

Another roughly 20 million guns were sold last year.

A recent survey conducted by professors at Harvard and Northeastern Universities found the number of female first-time gun buyers has doubled over the past two years, to 3.5 million.

But it appears women aren’t the only group buying more guns.

A separate survey by the National Shooting Sports Foundation found gun sales went up 56% for Black Americans in 2020. Philip Smith, the President and founder of the National African American Gun Association - or NAGA – said more people in the Black community are starting to come around on lawful gun ownership.

“African Americans for too long have went around in society being soft targets.”

Smith says NAGA is fighting for gun rights for all Americans, not just Black Americans.

“Why shouldn’t a single mom who needs to be able to protect her kids in a rough area of town, black or white, not be able to buy that gun?” he said.

Smith said he thinks certain policies - like added gun fees and required wait times - hurt low-income Americans the most.

“And you’ve priced-out a lot of poor folks that need and want to have a gun, and it drives them to buy guns illegally,” Smith added.

Officials say illegally owned guns are an issue in Savannah. It’s a problem youth activist Beverlee Trotter is all too familiar with.

“We’re living in a time where people are worried,” Trotter said.

Five years ago, Trotter started a gun buy-back program in the city. The program pulled more than 30 firearms off the streets. Trotter is for gun control, but says she feels it’s time we as a country take a new approach. She’s calling for mandatory gun education in public schools. Trotter compared it to the importance of the implementation of sex education.

“We can do the same thing and offer gun education, because guns are not going to go anywhere. But we can teach our young people early.”

Regardless of what happens next, Smith has a message for gun owners, especially African Americans.

“Do not stop carrying a gun. That’s your 2nd Amendment right. We are the most patriotic group of folks in this country. So don’t stop carrying that gun.”

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