TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — In the years of the pandemic, the U.S. has seen the highest numbers of first-time gun-owners since 1998. FBI data shows there are 20,000 more first-time gun owners compared to this time last year.
“They estimate about 8 million first-time gun-buyers in the united states since the pandemic kicked off," said Cliff Gyves, Manager of Pima County’s Sports Shooting Program. "We joke we’ve seen half of them at our range.”
Cliff Gyves is one of many Tucson firearm instructors who have noticed this influx locally.
“With COVID and lock downs, and concurrent with that you had protests and riots," Gyves said. "Even people that would have never touched a gun before are thinking maybe I want a gun for protection.”
They’re concerned new gun-owners haven’t gotten the proper training.
“Training and practice are foremost if you're going to carry a firearm,” said Hugo Ruthling, a firearm instructor for Aztex.
To buy a gun in Arizona, you don't need to know how to load, aim or fire.
“If they pass the background check, they can get a gun,” Gyves said.
You can even carry it with you if you have a concealed carry permit. Ruthling says someone could get this permit with only four hours of training, but there’s a lot more a gun owner should learn.
“How to hold a gun, how to grip it, how to point it, how to manipulate the trigger, which is one of the most important things of all,” Ruthling said.
Instructors are urging first-time gun owners to learn the basics, and practice at county shooting ranges.
“It’s one thing to have a right, it's another thing to exercise that right responsibly,” Gyves said.
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