The survey, coordinated by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearm industry trade association, was done to learn the buying habits of consumers in America's gun shops. Those responding to the survey said that 33.2 percent of customers bought a gun for the first time. When compared with the adjusted NICS background checks for gun sales for the first half of the year – which by the end of June hit nearly 9.8 million – this gives an estimate of 3,247,351 first-time new gun owners.
“This survey shows that there is a continuing demand signal for firearms from the American public,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president and CEO. “We witnessed each month background check figures associated with a gun sale that are second only to those we saw in last year’s record-breaking totals. These survey results show not only is there a strong and healthy appetite from first-time gun buyers but that there is still room to grow. We are encouraged by the sustained interest in lawful and responsible gun ownership as well as by the manufacturing base which has been challenged to meet this remarkable demand.”
Contrary to the trope used by gun control groups and otherwise anti-2A advocates, those new gun owners aren't "old white guys."
NSSF's survey results showed that in the first six months of 2021:
Over 90 percent of retailers reported an increase of African American men purchasing firearms.
Nearly 87 percent of retailers reported an increase of African American women purchasing firearms.
Nearly 84 percent of retailers reported an increase of Hispanic-American men purchasing firearms.
Over 87 percent of retailers reported an increase of Hispanic-American women purchasing firearms.
Over 76.5 percent of retailers reported an increase of Asian-American men purchasing firearms.
Over 82 percent of retailers reported an increase of Asian-American women purchasing firearms.
22.1 percent of customers purchased a second firearm since their initial purchase.
44.5 percent of first-time gun buyers in 2021 were under 40.
45.7 percent asked for information on safety training.
23.6 percent signed up for safety training.
"There’s an interesting shift concerning Americans’ attitudes toward guns and gun control," observed Larry Keane, NSSF's SVP for Government & Public Affairs, assistant secretary, and general counsel. "Gun ownership is rising and the appetite for gun control is waning at the same time."
Keane cites independent Pew Research Center gun surveys that show firearm ownership holding steady with 40 percent of American households reporting a firearm in the home, including 30 percent who report personally owning a firearm.
"Pew’s findings about the reasons for gun ownership match what NSSF uncovered. Most people are buying guns for personal protection," said Keane. "NSSF found the same results in the 2020 retail surveys."