People went on a gun-buying binge following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots and President Joe Biden’s inauguration in a rush to arm up led by women, black people, and Hispanics.

According to a new scholarly look at gun sales, the events produced historic sales numbers as “approximately 1.9 million people bought firearms, 300,000 of whom were new to gun ownership when they purchased their gun.”

The study from Northwestern University researchers said a similar spike in gun buying, especially by first-timers, came in June 2020, the month after George Floyd's murder while in Minneapolis police custody.

The study and focus on new buyers confirmed anecdotal reports from gun shops that people flooded in after the Floyd death prompted angry and violent riots throughout 2020 and returned following the 2020 election and its aftermath.

Politics, and the threat of a Biden gun grab, have been driving sales, according to Justin Anderson, the marketing director of Hyatt Gun Store in Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the nation’s biggest outlets.

Anderson told Secrets, “I think sales are being driven by uncertainty — in our leaders, in our economy, and in the future of this country. Fear is always the largest driver of gun sales.”

He also said that Hyatt Gun Store has seen a huge growth in sales to women and black people and an accompanying surge in first-time gun owners taking safety classes.

Cam Edwards, the editor of Bearing Arms, wrote that the study also confirmed that new buyers are a big share of all gun buying, though it estimated 2020 new buyers at 7.5 million, shy of earlier estimates of 8.5 million.

“That’s still a strong figure,” Edwards said.

The demographic data in the study suggested that national events are broadening those buying guns from the pattern of just white males.

“Approximately half of all new gun owners were female (50% in 2019 and 47% in 2020 to 2021), 20% were black (21% in 2019 and in 2020–2021), and 20% were Hispanic (20% in 2019 and 19% in 2020–2021),” the authors said. “By contrast, other recent purchasers who were not new gun owners were predominantly male (70%) and white (74%), as were gun owners overall (63% male, 73% white)."

What’s more, the study noted that most gun buyers do not live in cities that have seen a boost in shootings this year.

It suggested that the surge in new gun buyers could endanger others who live in the homes of the new owners, especially those mulling suicide.

“Even if we don’t see an immediate rise in gun suicide and accidents in the population as a whole, that still doesn’t mean that people in those homes haven’t been placed at higher risk,” the authors said.

But Edwards noted that loose claims like that aren’t true, writing, “Suicide rates were actually flat last year, even as homicides, fatal drug overdoses, and even fatal car accidents all increased substantially.”

Edwards added, “I don’t believe that new gun owners are inherently less responsible than those who grew up around firearms, but I would like to see more education and training opportunities, particularly in cities and states that have tried their best to make gun ownership taboo for decades.”