Last year was a year of uncertainty. In that time of fear and uncertainty, people in America turned to guns for protection. In those first few months of the pandemic, 40% of all gun sales were made by first-time buyers.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation says that the previous national average of first-time gun buyers was 24%. That average was consistent for the past two decades. But due to the pandemic and the fear of not knowing what the future brings, people went on a shopping spree for guns, assault rifles, hunting rifles, long-range scopes, ammunition, and other gun accessories.
But the fear of the unknown, primarily inflated by the pandemic, is not the only thing that got people into buying guns.
Erin Palette from Pink Pistols, a group that supports LGBTQ gun owners, says that guns allow her to defend her queer life. She says that owning a gun is essential for them, especially when the police can’t arrive on time.
On the other side of the spectrum are gun-control activists such as Everytown for Gun Safety, Students Demand Action, and Moms Demand Action. They lobby for stricter laws that will reduce gun violence, which according to some data, kills about 100 Americans per day, with even more injured because of it.
Shannon Watts from Moms Demand Action says that 53 women in America are shot to death by their partner on an average month.
Stricter gun control laws were also demanded after the Parkland school shooting in 2018 when 14 students and three staff members were shot and killed.
But the proposed gun control legislation didn’t see the light of the day as the Republican-controlled Senate blocked it. The gun control legislation was proposed by the Democrats and was supported by Joe Biden.
Three years later, with a new president in office, gun control is again on the table. President Joe Biden seems determined to make a push for stricter gun control. In a press release released by the White House, it was said – “We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer. The time to act is now.”
With the Democrats controlling both the Senate and the House, passing stricter gun control is significantly higher.
Part of the proposed gun control laws includes banning assault rifles such as AR-15, running background checks on all firearm purchases, stopping the sale of high-capacity magazines, and so on.
Claire Boine, an expert in US gun control and a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, was asked about a comment on the matter by Deutsche Welle. Boine believes that a universal background check stands an excellent chance to be introduced as a new law. But she remained skeptical about the prospect of banning assault rifles.
So, gun control did not just become an issue overnight. But with the recent changes in Washington, the gun control agenda is back on the front pages one more time.