With gun ownership rapidly expanding in the United States, a new study finds women are increasingly becoming gun buyers.
In fact, after decades of demographic surveys showing women representing just 10-20% of gun owners, women are nearly half of all new gun buyers, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Women now represent 42.5% of gun owners, according to the 2021 National Firearms Survey of more than 19,000 adults.
Gun ownership has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic era and during the social unrest of last summer. New groups are increasingly forming to help teach women how to handle firearms for their personal protection.
Federal background check data, a common indicator of gun sales, were at an all-time high in 2020 at around 21 million, according to the report.
The #MeToo movement and reports of vulnerabilities of women to sexual assaults have also contributed to the rise of women's gun ownership, experts told the Journal.
"We are aware of the research," San Diego chapter of A Girl & A Gun operator Dakota Adelphia told the Journal. "That's what education is for."
NotMeSD was founded in 2019 to help women combat sexual assault and domestic violence, training about 400 women on buying and using firearms, the Journal reported.
Kanisha Johnson, 39, was one of them, buying a 9mm Glock this year after surviving being shot in the head by the father of her children in 2017, according to court records.
"If any type of situation like that ever happens again, I just want to be better protected," Johnson told the Journal.
Elaine Pierce told the Journal she signed up for NotMeSD after watching the violent protests, riots, looting, and arson in the name of social justice and calls to defund the police last year.
"I've seen riots before, but the police were always there," Pierce, 74, a landscape-company owner, told the Journal. "You drive into a riot, which we've seen on TV, at least you have a fighting chance."
Nielan Barnes has trained with her firearm with Los Angeles' Girls Gun Club, a group founded in 2014 that has grown to 1,500 members, according to the Journal.
"They may not identify as feminists but they are empowered women who know how to use a gun," Barnes told the paper.
Among other demographic findings from the 2021 National Firearms Survey, among new gun buyers:
- 55% white.
- 21% Black.
- 19% Hispanic.
The survey did find a higher percentage of new female gun buyers were Black (28%).
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