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New gun owners: Why some are now choosing to arm themselves

Supreme Court Guns
Posted at 4:00 AM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 08:44:18-04

Nearly 30 percent of all firearm purchases last year went to new gun owners, according to data from the Firearm Trade Industry Association.

Vincent Vasquez, a managing member of C2 Tactical, says he has seen a rise in sales at his Tempe shop "over the past several years in comparison to the last five."

Cyndi Starr is one of those new gun owners.

At 68 years old, she bought her first firearm two weeks ago. It’s a purchase she didn’t take lightly.

“I came to that decision after months of going back and forth. Should I? Shouldn’t I?” Starr said. “I would never want to harm anybody, never. But I’ve been close enough to potentially violent situations where I had that split second where I was like, what’s my back-up?”

Data from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System shows, in Arizona, the number of firearm background checks rose from around 370,000 in 2019 to about 665,000 in 2020. That number got slightly lower but remained steady at 563,000 in 2021. The data does not represent the number of gun sales conducted through private parties without background checks.

“I think the best people can do is to take the first step and get educated,” Vasquez said.

ABC15 was there as Starr learned to shoot her firearm for the very first time. She says the older she gets, the more vulnerable she has become.

“I think I could be an easier target,” Starr said. “That was my deciding point. I didn’t want to wait until I was 75 to decide, maybe it’s time to pick up a gun.”