WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) – First-time gun owners differ demographically from gun owners overall, according to a study published online Dec. 21 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Matthew Miller, M.D., Sc.D., from Northeastern University in Boston, and colleagues estimated the number and described the characteristics of firearm purchasers during a period spanning Jan. 1, 2019, to April 26, 2021. Data included 19,049 participants in the 2021 National Firearms Survey.

The researchers found that 2.9 percent of U.S. adults (7.5 million) became new gun owners during the study period. Nearly three-quarters of purchasers (5.4 million) had lived in homes without guns, collectively exposing more than 11 million persons to household firearms (in addition to themselves), including more than 5 million children. Among the new gun owners, approximately half were women (50 percent in 2019 and 47 percent in 2020 to 2021), 20 percent were Black (21 percent in 2019 and 21 percent in 2020 to 2021), and 20 percent were Hispanic (20 percent in 2019 and 19 percent in 2020 to 2021). Other recent purchasers, who were not new gun owners, were predominantly men (70 percent) and White (74 percent), as were gun owners overall (63 percent men; 73 percent White).

“Efforts to reduce firearm injury should consider the recent acceleration in firearm purchasing and the characteristics of new gun owners,” the authors write.

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