Modern gun ownership exemplifies diversity

People stereotype gun owners as all being old white, lower class right wing men, but in reality gun ownership and belief in the right to self defense is shared by women, LGBT people and people of color.

While many find it hard to believe there are Democrats as well as Republicans who own guns and believe in the right to defend oneself and family.  Further gun ownership cuts across classes and ages.

We have both old folks and young who enjoy putting rounds down range and more forms of shooting sports than I can name off the top of my head.



Spurred by the need for personal protection, a growing contingency of gun owners is bucking the white, heterosexual male stereotype and using firearms to level the battlefield.

Gun ownership and women

As a young, African-American woman, Antonia Okafor says she often felt discouraged from firearm ownership. That all changed when the prevalence of violent crimes against women on college campuses made her rethink her stance on firearms. Now fighting for concealed carry rights on college campuses, Okafor represents a new generation of female gun owners or, as she puts it, “defying the rhetoric.”

With female ownership on the upward swing, increasing from 9 percent in 1994 to 12 percent in 2015 according to a recently published study by Harvard and Northeastern Universities, more women are pursuing gun ownership as a means of self protection.

“Women are the prey and women are generally weaker and there has to be a way to equalize the battlefield,” Carrie Lightfoot, founder of the Well Armed Woman shooting organization, told The Trace earlier this month.  “I really think women are driving the growth (in gun ownership) because it’s now accessible to them in ways it has never been before.”

In addition to simply owning guns, women are also moving toward carrying them. A study produced by John Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center indicated that between 2012 and 2016, in states that offer data by gender, the number of women with concealed carry permits has increased twice as fast as the number of men with permits.

Okafor says the figures aren’t surprising because the right to keep and bear arms extends past demographics.

“Gun ownership and the right to self defense is bigger than politics and more important to have,” she told during a phone interview. “I think (gun ownership) is a great equalizer.”

LGBT flock to guns

This “equalizer” isn’t just getting a boost from women. Those in the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community are also turning to guns as a means of self-protection.

The most recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that in 2014 lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered people represent the second largest group of victims targeted for bias based assaults. LGBT account for one-fifth of the over 5,000 single-bias hate crimes in the U.S. Tack on a highly-publicized mass shooting in a gay nightclub and it’s a recipe for increased ownership.

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