Soaring gun sales in Massachusetts worry health experts

August 4, 2022 – People in Massachusetts are buying more guns—mostly handguns, which people tend to buy for self-protection.

According to an August 3, 2022, WBUR article, Massachusetts gun sales in 2021 rose 57% from 2019, and doubled over the past decade.

The article cited a February 2022 study co-authored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Deborah Azrael that found that one in five people who bought guns in the U.S. between 2019 and April 2021 were first-time gun buyers. About half were women and nearly half were not white. Azrael, director of research of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and other experts quoted in the article said that the gun industry has capitalized on rising fear and anxiety fueled by the pandemic.

“The narrative that we are unprotected and in danger and under existential threat by all sorts of forces seems to have gathered traction,” she said. “The gun industry has always been incredibly good and attentive to creating markets—and selling and selling and selling.”

She noted that people buying guns may not consider the potentially deadly consequences. “The risk of that gun being used in a suicide or homicide or in an unintentional injury overwhelms any benefit,” she said.

Read the WBUR article: Gun sales hit record levels in Massachusetts over past two years

Learn more

More women are becoming gun owners (Harvard Chan School news)

Soaring U.S. gun sales could lead to more deaths, says expert (Harvard Chan School news)