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New York (CNN) It’s been an unprecedented year for the firearms industry, which has seen a steady, pandemic-related surge in sales since Covid-19-related lockdowns began in March.
In many cases, the analysts say, the surge is motivated by fears that a Democratic president might expand restrictions on gun ownership.
But this year’s sales spike is different because it’s being driven by a rise in first-time gun buyers, especially among African Americans and women.
About 40% of gun sales in the first four months of the year were made by first-time buyers — far higher than the annual average of 24% over the past two decades, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association that tracks gun sales and analyzes industry trends.
Gun sales among Black Americans are up 58% through September, according to the NSSF.
“We’ve never seen a year-over-year increase that large in African-American gun buyers,” Oliva told CNN Business.
“People are worried about people stealing from other people, breaking into homes,” Jefferson told CNN Business.
“I have a family to protect,” Thompson told CNN Business.
Oliva of the NSSF says the biggest sales increases have come from states that have stricter gun control measures in place.
“Our instructors, they’re being overrun,” Muller told CNN Business.
“They have been watching what has been going on in terms of rioting, looting, defunding police, police not being available to them and they’re afraid,” Pidgeon told CNN Business.
‘A year unlike any other’2016 set the record for gun sales made during a single calendar year, with more than 15.7 million guns sold that year alone, according to the NSSF.