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August 4, 2022

National Shooting Sports Month® Celebrated by Most Diverse Gun-Owning Community Ever

By Joe Bartozzi

August is National Shooting Sports Month® and this year’s celebration will be different from years prior in a very big way.

After a stretch of historic firearm sales to millions of law-abiding Americans of all backgrounds, races and creeds, National Shooting Sports Month will see the most diverse gun-owning community ever head to their local practice shooting range or skeet and trap course to enjoy the recreational shooting sports.

It’s the perfect time to contribute and ensure these cherished American pastimes are here for generations to come.

New Faces

NSSF created National Shooting Sports Month as an opportunity to highlight the recreational shooting sports and the millions of Americans who enjoy them. Whether spending an afternoon practicing with a handgun at a neighborhood shooting range, or sighting in a rifle or breaking clay targets at an outdoor practice facility to prepare for the upcoming hunting season, the firearm industry businesses that support the exercise of the Second Amendment are there to welcome and help.

National Shooting Sports Month is a coast-to-coast celebration. There isn’t a corner of the country that hasn’t seen historic interest in firearm ownership over the past two and half years. Millions became new gun owners. In addition to the more than 14 million first-time firearm buyers, more than 1 million law-abiding Americans passed FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verifications for the purchase of a firearm for more than 36 months straight. That trend is still going.

Historic levels of minority and women buyers are among the nation’s new gun owners. Between 2019 and 2020, African Americans purchased firearms at a rate that was 58 percent higher than the previous year. For Hispanic Americans, the increase was 49 percent and for Asian Americans it was close to 43 percent. Women accounted for nearly 40 percent of first-time firearm purchases and African American women were the fastest-growing single demographic of all, leading media to take notice.

Interest and Opportunity

These new gun owners are learning to practice safe and responsible firearm ownership too. They’re practicing, and seeking more firearm education and training. Permit classes are selling out and concealed carry courses are booked. These are critically important activities for responsible gun owners and National Shooting Sports Month offers greater opportunities for all to take part.

Neighborhood firearm retailers and local shooting ranges offer patrons discounted rates for practice facilities and reduced prices for training courses during National Shooting Sports Month. Gun owners are encouraged to stop by or contact local firearm businesses and ask about National Shooting Sports Month opportunities. NSSF launched the tool to help recreational and practice shooters locate shooting ranges nearby.

Economic Benefits

Recreational and target shooting sports are a way to become a more confident, responsible and skilled gun owner. Participating in these activities are also an economic boon. The firearm industry has such a large economic footprint that several governors signed declarations recognizing the benefits their states receive when people purchase from and support firearm and ammunition businesses. For this year’s National Shooting Sports Month celebration, governors from 21 different states have signed proclamations.

All told, the total economic impact of the firearm and ammunition industry in the United States increased from $19.1 billion in 2008 to $70.52 billion in 2021, a 269 percent increase. More than 375,000 Americans are employed in the industry and more gun owners participating in National Shooting Sports Month activities means those numbers will continue rising.

Celebrating for the Future

August’s celebration of National Shooting Sports Month is an opportunity to become a better, more responsible and skilled gun owner. Going to a range with friends or family today means those opportunities will be available to future generations to enjoy. Participating in recreational shooting sports means supporting the industry that pays excise taxes that contribute to wildlife conservation and public land management, including public shooting ranges.

Since the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund, commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson fund, was created in 1937, firearm and ammunition manufacturers have paid in more than $15 billion in contributions.

National Shooting Sports Month pulls it all together. New and old gun owners alike, friends and family doing something together to create new traditions or continue past ones, and it all perpetuates America’s great pastime of enjoying recreational shooting sports.

This August, don’t miss out on National Shooting Sports Month.

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