When the coronavirus hit American shores, nurses and doctors stocked up on guns, a new study reports.
Researchers at New Mexico State University and the University of Toledo found that being a health care provider was one of the strongest predictors of buying a firearm during the first few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. Sixty-seven percent of people who reported buying a gun during the pandemic also reported being health care professionals.
“One of the things we should see, in my limited view, is these are people who are civilians who are not criminals and they have seen a lot of unrest in the past six months,” New Mexico State University professor Jagdish Khubchandani told the Washington Free Beacon. “And they want to be on the front foot with their own safety.”
Khubchandani said this surprising finding becomes more understandable when considered alongside the study’s other main finding: Gun-ownership demographics as a whole have shifted during the pandemic.
Gun buyers were more likely to be younger, more urban, more female, and less white. As the gun-owning demographic diversifies, then, it starts to look more like the demographics of health care, one of the country’s largest industries.
“America now has more job opportunities in health care,” Khubchandani said. “Almost 15 percent of Americans today have a job in health care. And as that demographic has changed, so has the gun-owning demographic, and they’ve intersected.”
Khubchandani pointed to two recent surveys finding that between a quarter and half of physicians own guns. He also noted recent real-world examples of health care professionals lining up at gun shops to purchase guns.
“We were having doctors, nurses—you name it—coming in, and they wanted guns,” Emily Atkinson, owner of Ade’s Gun Shop in California, told Fox 11 Los Angeles this month.