New data suggests that the ranks of America's gun owners have grown this year by almost 5 million additional members. 

The figures, compiled by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade group for the firearms industry, are drawn from a mixture of surveys conducted of firearm retailers and adjusted background check data from the FBI's National Instant Background Check System-- which has broken record after record this year. The trends point to nearly 5 million first-time gun owners across the first seven months of 2020.

"This is a tectonic shift in the firearm and ammunition industry marketplace and complete transformation of today’s gun-owning community,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President of General Counsel. "These first-time buyers represent a group of people who, until now, were agnostic regarding firearm ownership. That’s rapidly changing, and these Americans are taking hold of their God-given right to keep and bear arms and protect themselves and their loved ones."

Far from being the trademark "white gun guy" demographics pushed by mainstream media, the NSSF's survey found that women comprised  40 percent of recent first-time gun buyers while the group with the largest statistical increases, African Americans, grew 58 percent. At the same time, gun purchases have almost doubled from 2019 figures while ammo sales are up a whopping 139 percent. 

Many in the industry feel the jump in sales and expansion in gun ownership comes from individuals bucking establishment politics pushing gun control tropes, choosing instead to vote with their pocketbook to exercise their right to keep and bear arms in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread civil unrest. 

"This period of sustained firearm purchases clearly shows that Americans continue to take responsibility for their personal safety, especially during times of uncertainty," Mark Oliva, NSSF’s director of public affairs told previously. "Additionally, talk by political figures in a presidential election cycle of instituting strict gun control, banning entire classes of firearms, and severely restricting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans are being seen."

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