New gun owners vs. buying more guns?


February 11, 2013, 12:02 PM
I've heard a lot from the gun control side that guns aren't really that popular with most people and that the big run on guns is just a case of all of us just buying more guns (Ha! I wish).

Last week I stopped by a good sized local Gun Store (Mega Sports in Plainfield Illinois) to pick up some cleaning supplies (and luckily some Large Pistol Primers). For the last few weeks they have been checking Illinois resident's at the door for a current Illinois FOID card before letting people come in.

(It's a minor PITA, but they had too many cases of people driving out from Chicago or Cook County, taking up a clerk's time for a half hour asking questions, then getting angry when they couldn't show them a gun without the card.)

If a potential customer doesn't have a FOID card, e.g. a new first time gun owner, they offer to send in the application with a photo for $25 or so. They have it all set up right next to the front door.

I asked a manager I've known for years, how many new FOID card apps they were doing in an average day. He said they were averaging 10 to 25 a day last year. Now they are doing 100 to 150 every day, 7 days a week except Sunday with shorter hours when they do around 75 to 85. It's been running that way since before Christmas. That's one store.

They are also doing a lot of 2fers, - husbands/wives and boyfriend/girlfriend applications.

Two other smaller local stores I frequent said they are doing 5+ times the FOID card apps they did last year too. Don't have hard numbers from them though.

So I guess, based on purely anecdotal evidence, I'm calling "Shenanigans" on the claim by the grabbers that nobody new is buying guns.

I'm curious if any of you have seen the same thing, absent the stupid FOID card issue of course.

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February 11, 2013, 12:38 PM
I don't go into gun stores anymore because I have just about anything I might want/need. However I will go into places like Bass Pro Shops in the mall to buy ammo or misc things.
At the gun counter I was just window shopping and overheard many of the people (they had to take numbers for service since so many people were waiting) asking newbie questions. You could tell many had never owned or in some cases even handled the type of firearm they were looking at.
One guy started to ask me questions and was surprised when I suggested he buy two handguns, one being a .22 in a 1911 configuration, and a .45 as well. Then the light bulb went off in his head as it relates to practice and cost.

So while I am sure some existing gun owners are stocking up on more, many seem to be 1st timers. Fortunately we do not have some of the restrictions some of the nanny states do.

February 11, 2013, 12:59 PM
It seems like stats for FOID cards should be available from the state.

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February 11, 2013, 03:59 PM
I was born and raised in Plainfield. Know the family who owns Mega Sports very well (if they still own it). I miss Chicago land very much but not a day goes by that I am not grateful that I got out when I did.

Now that I live in a freer state (if ever so slightly), I could never go back.

February 11, 2013, 04:06 PM
Re: Mega Sports

You might not recognize the Mega Sports store now.

They literally doubled the size last year. Same number of range lanes for now, but twice the square footage for display. More lanes coming down the road.

They were just about to add several new product lines, including a big section on AR's and accessories when the wheels fell off as far as supply goes. But they seem to be doing better than some others in terms of keeping ammo on the shelves.

February 11, 2013, 05:15 PM
We don't have FOID cards down here, but I can tell you from casual observation that a lot of the people buying are not gun people. Some may well own other guns, it is Louisiana where just about everyone that can afford it owns a gun, however some of these current buyers may be the type that only had an old .22 rifle or single shot shotgun in the closet.

February 11, 2013, 05:29 PM
Ditto the anecdotal evidence on
lots of new owners. I have had 10 or so coworkers, many of whom I rarely share common political views asking me questions about self defense weapons.

Of course, most of my enthusiast friends have increased their collection in the past two months.

February 11, 2013, 05:34 PM
I know my basic handgun classes have been selling out in a couple of days from posting them. The basic class is normally taken by people that don't own a handgun.

February 11, 2013, 05:40 PM
This administration has done better for gun sales and new gun owners than any other in the history of the U.S.

Now all we have to do is keep it under control like they are trying to do to us.

February 11, 2013, 05:43 PM
I know people on both sides of that fence. Lots of new gun owners around and also a buddy that I work with who just picked up 6 new AR lower recievers recently.

February 11, 2013, 06:08 PM
I can see the "experienced" gun owners going out to buy the ARs and such when the election results came in and then the tragedy occured. Dejas vu and all. Those sitting on the fence, waiting for their tax refund, etc., went out and bought their needs. I don't see many new guns out there that the gun savvy owner would pay top dollar for except for some "hi cap" pistols that were on their wish list but were purchased before the stupid prices. I can only imagine that those paying over retail for any gun has to be new to the sport and not used to prices. They just want a gun before they are "banned". I'm guessing that gun purchases from the election thru the first of the year were the old vets and anything after the new year are newbies. However you look at it, we are getting millions more gun owners in our ranks who will move their votes to our side. I think the law makers also see this and that is why any new legislation has stalled. The more Obama pushes, the more converts we get. He has done more for arming Americans than anyone I can think of. That fact has to piss him off.

Lex Luthier
February 11, 2013, 06:37 PM
A close friend has been asking me gun questions for over a year. I suggested that he purchase sooner than later. He told me Sunday he was prepared to make a purchase and what did I recommend, and I said "At this point, whatever is available".

Some people just don't listen, and now my pal has to over-overspend when he could have just listened a little better.

Saturday night we attended a small party, and my other pal was aghast at the shortage of ammo. Egads! It took about fifteen minutes of reminding him of recent and current events of the last four years for him to shut up and maybe become a little more conservative in philosophy.

I will not take these two opportunities to make an absolute killing on F2F sales to my friends, but due to their inactions, they will bite the bullet.

February 11, 2013, 06:48 PM
I'm seeing lots of new gun owners in this buying phase.

Everyone is buying guns right now, not just the "gunnies".

February 11, 2013, 06:48 PM
My shop here in the PNW has been seeing A LOT of newbies... I am sooo tired of starting each sales pitch from scratch... These new folk really need a helping hand to get set up proper (If I had no ethics it's be easy to just sell them whatever) Comfort and practicality goes a long way in establishing these new folk into the long term fold.

February 11, 2013, 06:58 PM
I'll bet I spent more time at my gun club range last summer, coaching new gun owners on safty and handeling their new guns, than I did shooting myself.I never see anything like it.Many of my shooting range friends we're doing the same thing.We welcome new member shooters and most are very interested in coaching and safty.The amount of new owners is simply amazing.hdbiker

February 11, 2013, 07:23 PM
Of course the gun control advocates say that the increase in purchases are from previous gun owners. They wouldn't want to admit that gun ownership grows as they narrate gun owners are extremists.

I believe its a mix of new and existing owners. Probably more new than existing.

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February 11, 2013, 07:30 PM
I've made a recreational practice of heading out to see the rush and I can attest that the buyers are mostly new folks who've never owned an EBR. They don't know what they're looking at and they don't have ammunition or magazines for them (beyond what comes with the new EBR). The big Gander is rationing out 5.56 to them so everyone will have some.

Sock Puppet
February 11, 2013, 07:57 PM
I've noticed the same in my area.

February 11, 2013, 09:31 PM
Went to a few gun stores over the weekend.

Local overpriced Mega Store was packed shoulder to shoulder, wall to wall. They were taking tickets and waiting in line. I overheard that the wait to see a gun was over an hour. Many were looky-loos, but I'm sure a lot of folks were buying.

Second place I went was another local shop, nothing fancy and deals mostly in fishing gear, but they have a nice gun counter. Four people were checking out guns, plus me. One guy was helping a friend choose a handgun (first time buyer), and I didn't hear what the others were after. I bought my rifle, handled a used Beretta 21A (and wished I had the extra $219.00 to spend after buying my rifle), and went over to the third gun shop, which happened to be:

Gander Mtn. Again, wall to wall people in the gun section, taking numbers with ridiculous waiting times, and jacked prices. Reminded me of why it had been years since I last set foot in one.

Finally, I stopped at another local mom & pop, and they were jammed, but I didn't have to wait long.

I'm seeing a lot of new people buying, as well as a lot of gun owners buying more.

My wife hassles me (in good nature) about my guns. she's only bought ammo for me once before, but she surprised me this morning with two boxes of .30-06 and 100 rounds of 5.56 she snagged at another LGS.

wooly bugger
February 11, 2013, 09:55 PM
Here in NJ, lots of PDs are completely overwhelmed by a flood of FID applicants. I heard rumors that some were even suspending accepting new ones until they can catch up on some of the backlog.

What are all these new gun owners doing without any ammo available?

Given what this surge shows about PD capacity, if the every 5 year renewal bill passes, everyone will have to go through the entire process, just like an initial application, every 5 years. At that point, the entire system will crash, and we'll have a constitutional case for de facto ban.

February 11, 2013, 10:43 PM
What are all these new gun owners doing without any ammo available?

Some of the smarter ones I've talked to are seeing what isn't sold out and buying guns in those chambers. Lots of .357 magnum on the shelves at one LGS, most places have .44 magnum. I just bought a .30-06 because it's well stocked.

The dumb ones are overpaying for semi-auto's and their associated ammo. Smart ones are buying what isn't in demand, like levers and bolt actions, shotguns and revolvers.

February 12, 2013, 01:25 AM
Keep in mind that we may have a different definition of new gun owner than the anti's do. To us the guy with the 50 year old single shot 12 gauge in the closet complete with the half box of 30 year old shells going out and buying a new anything looks like a new gun owner on first sight. To the anti's he is a repeat gun owner and therefore counted as a fringe group member.

February 13, 2013, 06:02 PM
"What are all these new gun owners doing without any ammo available?"

One local store told me they have a supply of some calibers in back and buying a new or used gun get's them one or two boxes of 50 rounds of ammo in that caliber. Kind of a "starter kit".

I was at one of the local shops yesterday and they got a shipment of ammo in while I was standing there and immediately put about 1/3 of it in the back, off the shelves.

February 13, 2013, 08:20 PM
I went to renew my CPL recently, and was told that volume for the last few weeks was over 4x normal. Lots of new people getting into concealed carry. That probably correlates with new buyers vs existing shooters.

February 13, 2013, 08:41 PM
I've seen a lot of never held a gun new owners at the last five gun shows. I've also seen a lot of guys helping their women pick out their first hand gun.

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