Americans are buying guns at a record pace. A surprising number of the sales are from first-time firearm owners, says Stephen Gutowski, a reporter at The Washington Free Beacon and a certified National Rifle Association instructor. Gutowski joins the podcast to explain some of the reasons for the spike in gun sales and to offer safety tips for first-time gun owners. Start transcript: Virginia Allen: I am pleased to be joined by Stephen Gutowski, a reporter at The Washington Free Beacon and a certified National Rifle Association instructor. Stephen, thanks so much for being here.
Stephen Gutowski: Hey, thanks for having me. Allen: Last week, you wrote a great piece for the Free Beacon discussing 2020 gun sales in America. About 5 million Americans have become gun owners for the very first time in 2020. Are those numbers normal? Gutowski: No, those are pretty abnormal numbers. In fact, it’s a record pace at this point for gun sales in the United States and from what we know, at least from what the industry says from surveys that they’ve conducted, 40% of new sales are going to first-time gun owners, which is how you get that 5 million number. That is very unusual and … the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the industry group, … in addition to what they’re saying, I’ve also spoken to a number of gun stores and a number of new buyers and it’s certainly something that’s completely out of the ordinary. Allen: Wow. What are the manufacturers saying? What are those that work at gun shops and sell guns [saying]? Are they pretty surprised by what’s going on? Gutowski: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, obviously, we’re living in fairly unprecedented times generally with the virus and some of the civil unrest that we’ve seen and so guns and gun sales are also a part of that and driven in large part by those events. … One store that I’ve talked to several times is Wex Gunworks down in Florida in Delray Beach and he said it’s been unlike anything he’s ever seen before. I think his quote was, “They said that President [Barack] Obama was the greatest gun salesman of all time. No, it’s actually COVID-19.” And I think you see that reflected as well in big gun companies, too. [full article]