Photo by Mitch Barrie via Flickr

Last month, we learned the results of the 2021 National Firearms Survey which revealed that nearly half of new firearm purchases in the last year were made by women.

No surprise here. 

As the only female firearms instructor at one of the ranges closest to our nation’s capital, I wasn’t shocked at all. At least half of my new students in the last year were women – a huge increase compared to prior years.

The study polled over 19,000 American adults, one of the largest nation-wide, population-based firearm surveys ever conducted. It found that an estimated 3.5 million women purchased a gun for the first time between January of 2019 and April of 2021. Comparably, about 4 million men purchased a gun for the first time during the same period.  

I’m no sociologist but can confidently say this increase in female gun ownership is closely tied to the chaos induced by COVID, the subsequent rise in crime, particularly violent crime, and the public’s growing lack of faith in the government to protect them. 

Women in particular are more concerned about this rise in crime because we will always disproportionally feel the impact. 

At their core, criminals are lazy – even the smart ones. If they weren’t lazy, they would earn money by honest means like the rest of us. Simply put, women are easier targets for criminals and thus are more likely to be victimized. 

What this study also indicates is that more women are buying guns for themselves and by themselves. Why? Because when compared to previous decades, more of us are single, living alone and must rely on ourselves for protection and security. 

That’s not a negative thing – it’s just a contemporary fact of life.  

Even before COVID, I found that women were far more likely than men to purchase a firearm out of fear – and far more likely to purchase out of fear of someone specific

The following are just a few of the many horror stories I’ve been told by my female students in the past 18 months. 

  • One said her former boss is a violent alcoholic who’s obsessed with her and likes to park and sleep outside of her house at night.
  • Another told me that she lives alone with her four kids and believes her new neighbors are dealing drugs out of their house and are somehow connected to MS-13.
  • Yet another stated that during the George Floyd riots last year, rioters flipped a nearby car, set it on fire, then threw dangerous objects like bottles at the responding fire trucks. 

Those are just some of the more colorful stories. Sadly, I can’t even count how many female students have confided in me that they were buying a gun and seeking training because their ex-husband or boyfriend was getting violent and she was fearful for her safety and/or the safety of her children. 

As a matter of fact, that’s by far the most common reason, and it’s prevalent in every neighborhood, town and city across America. 

The bottom line is that the National Firearms Survey brought into the open what has been obvious for years: the world in which we live is increasingly violent and unhinged and we are increasingly living a “peephole existence” behind fortified, locked doors. 

Women, consequently, have had no choice but to take it upon themselves to ensure their safety and the safety of their children – and a gun is the best, quickest, and safest way to accomplish that. 

Way to go girls! 

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