Guns and Demographics

So, I went to a local gun show yesterday. Not the biggest one but pretty sizable – 3 large buildings at the state fairgrounds. and I looked around at the people there.

This was prompted by 2 things 1: I needed to sit down because that freakin’ knee is bothering me again and I forgot to wear a brace, and 2: one of Media Matter’s resident talking heads decided to go to the NRA convention and then blog about it, denigrating all the attendees, exhibitors, the NRA and NRA members, and gun owners in general. Go figure. (oh and no link for them).

Now that is unremarkable in and of itself, but he does go a bit into something I’ve heard elsewhere – that gun-related activities are overwhelmingly populated by older white people. Robert Farago over at The Truth About Guns (look! still not blacklisted!) has coined the phrase Old Fat White Guys (hereafter abbreviated to OFWG) to describe this phenomenon. From the MM piece:

The NRA knows that a large and growing portion of its four million members are in, or soon to be in, the market for hearing aids and mechanized mall carts.

Democrats can win the gun control war in 50 years if they just get wise and back off and let age take its course,” said Terry Joggerst, a retired NRA member who had a 40-year career with Winchester. “When these 50-year-olds are all dead, and the young people who are more video game oriented replace them, the balance of power will swing. The people who feel most strongly about guns and gun rights are not the young.”

Now as I said, I’ve heard this before so I’ve been starting to look around and see if I think this is the case (being an OFWG, I think I have a vested interest *g*).  And so I’ve been kind of keeping an eye out – at the gun shops, the indoor and outdoor ranges I am a member at, and the last couple of shows. What did I find?

Almost all exhibitors at a gun show and employees at gun shops are older white guys. Attendees and customers? Not necessarily. Yesterday I saw numerous couples, a number of them younger and with small children. Groups of 20-somethings including one with quite a range of ethnic diversity 9including a Hispanic male with hipster glasses and 4 foot dreadlocks). Many complete families including children. Quite a mix of ethnicity, age and gender (well OK really just the 2) all around. Lots of older white people? Sure. Nothing but them? Not by a long shot.

Now I will be the first to call someone on the fact that the plural of anecdote is not data, and I could very easily be seeing a regional variation. My sample is neither random nor probably representative in a statistically acceptable way. But I know  what I see, and it isn’t the graying of the gun community to the extent the media, and especially the gun control folks,  would like me to believe.


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