Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Gun Buying in the Age of COVID and BLM


NPR linked to a study of gun purchasing

All sorts of interesting sometimes startling discoveries about the dramatic increase in gun purchases:

We find that gun purchases were particularly likely among attendees of protests against racism or police violence. These protests reached massive proportions during the first week of June, the second-highest week ever for background checks at the time. However, it is doubtful that protesters themselves—about 5% of the adult population by our estimates—can fully account for this increase.

Others may have purchased guns in reaction to this widespread unrest, as well as the sweeping government-mandated closures that coincided with the first peak in March. First-time gun purchases were more likely among African Americans, while existing gun owners were significantly more likely to buy guns if they reported not wearing masks or if they had contracted COVID-19. The most common reasons for purchase, by far, were protection against crime (70%) and target shooting or hunting (47%), though over a quarter (32%) said they were reacting to lockdowns, fears of the government, COVID-19, or the 2020 election.

Target shooting?  I think that was a euphemism by respondents for revolutionary practice.

People who attended protests or rallies in 2020 were substantially more likely to purchase a gun than those who did not (see Figure 2). Respondents who attended racism or police violence protests were 1.6 times more likely to purchase guns than those who did not. Respondents who attended Trump rallies and protests over lockdowns and the election were 3.9 times more likely to purchase guns than those who did not. Both types of protest/rally attendees remained substantially more likely to purchase guns after accounting for differences in ideology, party, location, and other relevant factors. Notably, attendees at racism or police violence protests were more likely than non-protesters to buy guns only if they owned a gun already; otherwise, rates were statistically indistinguishable after accounting for other differences.

The vast majority of gun buyers in 2020 were not first-time buyers: Our survey found that only 24% of gun buyers did not already own a firearm. Yet, when we split this set of gun buyers into those who already owned a gun and those who did not, important differences emerge. In a multivariate regression controlling for demographic, geographic, and political factors, prior gun owners who said they didn’t follow mask-wearing guidelines were 1.6 times as likely to buy a gun as those who said they followed mask-wearing guidelines very closely. Among those who did not already own a gun, respondents with a household income over $200,000 per year were 2.1 times as likely to buy a gun as those under $15,000. Respondents who reported extreme stress were 2.9 times as likely to become a gun-owner as those who reported no stress and respondents who identified as African American were 1.7 times as likely as those who identified as white (though the majority of gun-buyers overall—66%—identified as white). Younger Americans and Republicans were both more likely to purchase guns than older Americans and Democrats, regardless of prior gun ownership, as shown in Figure 3.

Richer people bought more guns than poor people.  Duh.

Younger Americans is likely a good sign.

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