First-time gun owners totaled at least 5.4M in 2021, groups says

Almost 47% of the first-time buyers asked about firearms training, while 43% enlisted in training programs, NSSF finds

At least 5.4 million people were estimated to have bought guns for the first time in 2021, with nearly 30% of all guns sold last year going to new firearms owners, according to a recent trade group survey. 

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The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) 2021 figures show a decrease of about 3 million from the staggering numbers of 2020, when an estimated 8.4 million people bought guns for the first time. The firearm industry trade group found that 27% of the new gun buyers were between ages 31 and 40, while 22.2% were age 30 or under. 

A revolver sits on display in the Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. booth on the exhibition floor of the 144th National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meetings and Exhibits at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee, April 11, 2015. T (Getty Images / Getty Images)

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The third-highest group was those between ages 41 and 50, who made up 21.7% of first-time gun owners, The NSSF found. 

Almost 47% of the first-time buyers asked about firearms training, while 43% enlisted in training programs, the group found. And more than 33% of the first-time gun owners were women. 

In this Aug. 21, 2021, image taken from video, firearms instructor Wayne Thomas shows Valerie Rupert the proper hand position on a fire arm at the Recoil Firearms store in Taylor, Michigan.  (Associated Press / AP Newsroom)

The group based its estimates on its own retailer surveys combined with adjusted statistics from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

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"The surveys revealed that new gun owners are continuing to embrace their Second Amendment rights and nearly half of them are seeking out professional training," said NSSF CEO and president Joe Bartozzi in a prepared statement. "These trends show that not only is there still a strong interest in gun ownership but also that these new gun owners are interested in learning more about the safe and responsible handling, use and storage of firearms."