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New gun owners as voting bloc

Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon explores the potential electoral impact of new gun owners.

The record-breaking gun sales during the coronavirus pandemic could bolster candidates that support the Second Amendment in 2020 and alter the course of American gun politics for the foreseeable future.

Several of the country’s leading gun-rights groups are working to convert many more first-time owners into new gun-rights voters in the run-up to the 2020 election. Amy Hunter, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, said that the group’s success could change the political landscape at the local, state, and national level.

“The NRA believes voters who recently purchased guns for self-defense will join other Second Amendment voters and be an even more formidable voting bloc,” Hunter told the Washington Free Beacon. …

… New buyers are learning for the first time how public policy shapes their ability to exercise their rights. Larry Keane, spokesman for the industry’s National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), said that firsthand experience can change how voters look at gun control and Second Amendment legislation.

“Particularly when people are purchasing these firearms because of concern about personal protection, the notion that anti-gun politicians who would strip us of our rights, would ban the most popular rifles being sold in the United States today is something that they should be taking into consideration” in the voting booth, Keane said. “I hope and I think that they will.”

After surveying retailers, NSSF estimates that 40 percent of those buying guns beginning in March were first-time owners. Analysts estimate about 6 million guns have been sold in that time period, with each month setting a new sales record. …

… If gun-rights groups can mobilize that group, they can significantly impact the future of gun policy across the United States, according to Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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