More women are becoming gun owners

During 2020, amid the pandemic, civil unrest over social justice issues, and a contested election, more people bought guns—and most were women, according to recent news reports.

A July 3, 2021 article in VOA News cited preliminary data from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health research that found that women accounted for about half of all gun purchases between 2019 and 2021, and that new gun owners are more likely to be female.

Last year, background checks for gun purchases—a proxy for gun ownership—spiked. The bump was part of a more than decade-long increase in gun purchases and ownership in the U.S., particularly among women, according to the article. But gun purchases aren’t only increasing among women. Matthew Miller, adjunct professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, noted that roughly 20% of background checks tied to gun purchases were for Black Americans, with another 20% attributable to Hispanic Americans.

While some quoted in the article said they think owning a gun can make people safer, Miller disputed that claim. He said that, in households with guns, the risk of suicide increases dramatically—as much as fivefold.

“I think when people buy guns, they don’t think about the risks they’re assuming for themselves or imposing on other people,” Miller said. “And when they do, they think more in terms of homicide and accidents when, in fact, suicide is responsible for nearly two-thirds of all the gun deaths in this country.”

Read the VOA News article: Gun Ownership Steadily Increasing Among US Women