We are a Frightened (and Heavily Armed) Nation

What do Americans do in these uncertain times? We buy guns. Millions and millions of guns. This year’s shopping spree has been a record-breaker. I’m not sure it has made us safer.

Of course, it is every American’s constitutionally protected right to own a firearm. But the massive surge in the number of firearm transactions so far in 2020 does lead one to wonder why so many of us want a gun – or more guns?

Reliable estimates using firearm background check data from the FBI and analyzed by interested groups concludes that in the first seven months of this anxiety-fueled year there were over 12 million guns purchased. Nearly 5 million buyers had never owned a gun before.

This flurry of civilian activity cements our standing as the world’s most armed nation. Current estimates put the number of guns in private hands at close to 400 million. That’s way more guns than we have people in this country.

In late May, following the death of George Floyd, the vicious riots that immediately followed and politician’s commands to police to stand down another surge in gun sales was registered.

Floyd Protests Spread to Philadelphia – wikimedia.org

Back to the “why” of our current situation. Comparisons of the FBI data and current events shows that when serious worries about the Covid-19 pandemic first surfaced in March frightened citizens’ began a firearms buying frenzy snapping up an estimated 2 million new guns.

Then in June, as Black Lives Matter protests spread, calls to defund police escalated and officers continued to be ordered to the sidelines firearm sales skyrocketed. Worried Americans watched civil rights protests continue to morph into spasms of arson, looting and even murder. Gun sales hit the highest level ever recorded. A whopping 3.9 million guns sold in June.

The monthly trend of record-breaking gun sales continued through October, perhaps spurred by anxiety over continued isolation, the faltering economy and see-saw unemployment.

As eye-opening as these figures are they don’t tell the whole story. Some gun owners simply refuse to answer poll questions about firearm ownership. And the figures reported here only include those citizens who applied for a federal background check and do not reflect those who bought their weapon(s) from private sellers.

Many Gun Owners Have More Than One Weapon – wikimedia

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. After the terror attacks in September 2001 Americans stocked up on more than half a million newly acquired guns. After President Obama was elected in 2008 fears of more gun control laws sparked another buying binge and more than a million more guns were purchased. After the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 Americans bought a staggering two million guns.

But nothing compares to the unprecedented race to get a gun in 2020.

It seems sad and ironic to think that the societal fallout from a pandemic and a civil rights movement calling for racial justice – albeit one that spun off into senseless violence in some cases – would result in millions more guns being acquired. A firearm will never protect a person from contracting a virus. A firearm used in a criminal manner will never bring about racial harmony.

Perhaps some day politicians will realize that curbing law and order tactics is not wise.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, a minority of gun owners say they use their weapon for hunting or sport shooting. Sixty-seven percent say “personal protection” was the reason they bought their gun.

Studies Show Nearly 70% Want a Gun For Personal Protection

Interestingly, several studies – including those from the Annals of Internal Medicine, The American Journal of Preventive Medicine and Boston University’s School of Public Health – have concluded that households with firearms are at a much greater risk of suicide, homicide and domestic murders. An increase in accidental shootings, especially involving children, were also noted.

Still, we buy guns to feel safe, safer than the politicians make us feel.

If you are one of the U.S. citizens who recently bought a gun or added to your collection this year, please, do the rest of us a favor. Treat that firearm like the deadly weapon it is. Lock it up to guard against theft, keep it away from children, take a safety course or otherwise arm yourself with the knowledge needed to keep the rest of us safe from your constitutionally protected firearm. Thank you.



  1. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    MontAGnArd writes:

    History lessons I’ve learned: China, Germany, Russia all had gun control. Resulted in millions unable to defend themselves and were murdered.

  2. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Michael Fay writes:

    Dear Diane:

    Your editorial on the frenzy of buying guns for protection was a real public service.

    Thank you!

    – Mike Fay
    Santa Barbara, CA

  3. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Harry Hart writes:

    Ms. Dimond,

    Interesting piece on the OP-ED page of the “Albuquerque Journal,” Sat., Dec. 5; You made some interesting points and I’m glad that you mentioned criminal elements, terrorism, etc., in the piece!

    I happen to believe that the Israelis have the right idea about national and personal defense, men & women there are all trained in the use of firearms to include elementary school Teachers…; I’m a U.S. Army combat Veteran of Vietnam, ’67, and have a healthy respect for firearms, not to mention the use of a knife for self defense!!

    Yes, people in today’s society have purchased firearms to “feel safe” which is our right under the Constitution but also due to the out-of-control crime rates, i.e. MS-13 and Mexican cartels operating in “blue state cities & states plus along our southern border…; But, for lefties in government, (academia & medical institutions), to want to over-regulate not to mention the confiscation, etc., of firearms is totally naive considering those silly people wanting to “defund the police!!!”

    Maybe it’s long over due that people learn to take responsibility for themselves and their families because “prohibition” is how dictators rule a country…America is suppose to be free but with the rule of sensible laws!

    We live in “interesting times,” eh?

    Harry W. Hart, II
    The banana republic of New Mexico, USA

  4. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    James Reinhardt

    Breaking news Diane! people who own pools are more likely to drown than those who don’t. People who drive cars are more likely to die in car crashes than those who don’t, and finally those who watch CNN are less informed than those who watch nothing at all

  5. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    Khal Spencer writes:

    Dear Ms. Dimond (and I’m being formal to be polite, not to be nasty)

    I always enjoy your editorials in the Albuquerque Journal, and today’s
    was no exception. A couple additions, though.

    One, I’m not all that keen on the quality of some of the medical studies
    of gun ownership vs. risk. The peer review on this stuff is often pretty
    light. My pen pal David Yamane, who is a Sociology prof. at Wake Forest
    U who studies gun culture (you perhaps are familiar with his work), has
    commented on some of the methodology and its weaknesses, such as
    conflating risk factors. For example, if someone owns a gun and is
    already in a high risk group, its not a surprise that the risk factors
    add up.


    Two. Another reason for the surge in gun sales is that people buy guns
    when they are worried about the political situation changing for the
    worse. During the recent Democratic primaries, the various candidates
    crawled over each other’s heads to demonstrate their enthusiasm for
    strict gun controls. Beto O’Rourke’s “Hell, yes, we’re going to take
    your AR-15, your AK-47.” was perhaps the most extreme but not only
    example. I surmise many, possibly assuming that Donald Trump may not be
    long for the White House, made sure they got their next purchase done
    before a Democratic administration went hog wild with gun control.

    As one of the Board members of my gun club, I can attest we try to train
    new (and existing) gun owners with regular basic pistol classes,
    concealed carry classes, and other mentoring. I recently spent a few
    hours with a Santa Fe realtor who inherited a pistol from her dad and
    while never having shot it, wanted to keep it for self defense.
    Following a few hours in the field where it was clear she was lacking
    the necessary skills, I recommended one of our Basic Pistol classes to
    her if she really wants to know how to handle her firearm.
    Unfortunately, our governor closed our range facilities down for much of
    the year due to covid, making it difficult to reach out. Some of us
    tried to publicize the info that is on the WWW but nothing takes the
    place of a day at the range. Here is some info I found.


    Your concluding comments are on point. If you bought a gun this year,
    ask yourself why**. Moreover, treat it like the lethal weapon it really
    is. So safeguard it properly, ensure you know how it works, and ensure
    you know the laws of self defense or whatever safety training applies to
    why you bought that firearm.


    All the best,

    Khal Spencer
    Santa Fe, NM
    Board member, Los Alamos Sportsman’s Club

  6. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    beverly_hills_investigator writes:

    This happens every election! “Woo Hoo a Republican! Let’s buy guns!” Then.. Oh No a Democrat! We better buy more guns before they ban them!”

  7. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    x_wyrteck_x writes:

    We are all building up our weapons and the intention is to take our country back one way or the other. Crooked politicians putting the hammer down on our businesses most of us have lost everything after 35 years of building a life, While they sit back in their mansions taking our money and telling us what we can and cannot do. // We no longer trust our government.

  8. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Patrick Assalone writes:

    With all due respect we are very heavily armed and not frightened in the least, get that straight.

  9. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    NavyVet writes:

    The question is, we buy guns to protect ourselves from who?
    Biden Bros.
    Americans know an act of war when we see one, and the democrat vote fraud operations were an act of war.
    It will not go unanswered.

  10. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    Russ writes:

    You are frightened.

    We are armed Patriots who are willing to die in defense of our freedom.
    That is not frightened that is determination and guts. Something the media lacks.

  11. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    Corradop76 writes:

    Where these studies are flawed, they mention the increase in numbers of suicides, homicides, etc for homes that have firearms, but they do not mention the crimes prevented.
    They do not explain if the homicide was in self defense due to a crime being committed either.
    While this is one of the less slanted articles on this topic, it cites sources that are heavily slanted.
    Evil will always find ways to do evil..

  12. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    Drphilco writes:

    We’re the only nation In the world that lumps suicides in with homicide, accidental, etc when calculating gun deaths. It skews the numbers tremendously. It bloats the numbers and gives the anti-2A crowd more bullshit to scream about. I mean the gun has zero to do with the suicide. If somebody is gonna kill themselves, they’ll find a way whether there’s a gun available or not.

  13. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Shannon Bell writes:

    No, guns will not protect you from a pandemic. But they will protect you from how a delusional society may react to a pandemic.

  14. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    Polly Purebred writes:

    It’s the left that motivates people to purchase more firearms with calls to defund the police, politicians failing to condemn rioting/violence and threats to remove rights. People have a right to protect themselves and their families. There are tens of millions of people in the US who have owned and trained with firearms for decades within their lives. The people of the US are in good hands, their own.

  15. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Brian Foltz writes:

    Our Country is ran by tyrants, from the top law enforcement agencies to the corrupt career politicians. We are not afraid We are sick of this crap. The very reason the 2nd Amendment is in place. And the very reason corrupt career tyrantical politicians want to take the guns from the People. People buying guns like never before should be a clear message to Our corrupt government. You want to defund the police, which in turn skyrockets crime and you want to take away Our ability to defend ourselves. We’re done listening to your mindless advice and endless, worthless spending of Our tax dollars. The People are tired
    ..get on board or get out.

  16. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    fortunephoto writes:

    No offense, but maybe if our so called Leaders did their jobs we would not FEEL like it is up to us to protect ourselves from those that are ALLOWED to break laws, destroy our businesses, and hurt our fellow citizens without punishments for doing so. Americans like myself bought guns to make sure we can go about our lives free from fear that they will win 100% of the time. Its called PEACE OF MIND.

  17. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    The Mutt writes:

    “According to a Pew Research Center survey, a minority of gun owners say they use their weapon for hunting or sport shooting. Sixty-seven percent say “protection” was the reason they bought their gun.’
    Is there room for those of us who do both? I purchased a gun this year. It was a hunting rifle. In a pinch, it could also be used in other ways. For the record, I don’t fear a doggoned thing either

  18. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    Slacka writes:

    “Not sure why” is probably the stupidest thing I’ve heard all day

    Why? Because we have a corrupt government, justice is not served for criminal activity, those who are criminals or have criminal minds get applauded by our so called “representatives” while productive citizens get arrested, fined and imprisoned for protecting themselves and loved ones. Why? Because our second amendment rights authorize the American people to protect themselves from evil doers, who appear to be in control of our country, legal system and states.
    Americans need to buy MORE guns to be prepared for when our government and wicked, evil people come after us.

    Why? Look at the news!!!! You can’t even walk down a street anymore without the worry of being attacked by “peaceful protesters”. Wake up.

  19. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    David Sneed writes:

    Locking up a gun you keep for protection defeats the purpose. Keeping it from children is just common sense. But we buy guns because of leftest politicians and their policy to disarm us and free criminals as in sanctuary cities

  20. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Pete Elder writes:

    We are frightened by the far left positions attacking our conservative social values and our police, rioting and vandalizing and destroying our private businesses, anceling our voices in social media. We realize now there’s Absolutely NO INTEGRITY in our elections and Democrats race to cheat the process. There’s no proof of identification required to register to vote and the states refuse to update/purge the voter rolls. We are left with the thought that ultimately we (individually) are the last line of defense and must be responsible to protect our homes and families. Gun ownership and marksmanship will determine our future. Yes we are scared of what Democrats will resort to, now that they’ve made a mockery of the Presidential Election.

  21. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    rcheitkamp writes:

    Seems to me that your opinion is based on your own fear of firearms. I can tell you that I am not afraid. I am worried that our freedoms have eroded to far. I am concerned that our society is to far gone to be saved. I don’t trust most of our leaders to do what is right rather than what will get them re-elected. Most importantly, I am not afraid, I am prepared.

  22. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Kevin Manning writes:

    I’ll play devils advocate on 1 point. To all new firearm owners: To insure the safety of your entire family, teach your children about said weapon! Unload it and let them examine it/them answer their questions honestly. A firearm locked securely away in a safe may not protect you when every second matters the most. Learn and practice safety. The weapon will NOT go off on its own! That’s just Marxist propaganda!
    To everyone else that is in the know. Sorry I didn’t see any comments saying that. it needed to be said.

  23. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    2263639 writes:

    Diane, since the vast majority of Americans are law abiding citizens, you should have nothing to fear from them buying a firearm unless you plan on looting a store or breaking and entering into someones home in the middle of the night. The “protestors” had better start to fear. Because one day they are going to violently protest once too often, and all hell is going to break loose. That’s what you should fear.

  24. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    Keith Alberstadt writes:

    We are an angry nation, not a frightened one

  25. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Russ writes:

    “Diane Dimond is an American investigative journalist, author, syndicated columnist, and TV commentator. She is best known for breaking the story of child molestation allegations against singer Michael Jackson and her coverage of the subsequent criminal trial. She has worked as a correspondent for Hard Copy, Extra, NBC, Entertainment Tonight, Court TV, and Investigation Discovery.”

    Liberal Hack of course she is frightened.

    • Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:47 pm

      Diane replies to Russ:

      Just for the record: I am not frightened. I do not support more gun control laws. What we need is more and faster prosecution of those who use a gun in the commission of a crime. And, I am certainly not a leftist. This column was written to chronicle a situation in the United States wherein law abiding citizens are buying guns in record numbers because our “leaders” have allowed the safety and security of Americans to deteriorate to an alarming level. Simply because a columnist writes about gun ownership does not mean that columnist is anti-gun. Such knee-jerk conclusions are pointless. ~ Diane Dimond

    • Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:47 pm

      Dwayne Gaskin replies to Diane

      Then you should state exactly where you stand Ms Dimond before writing another article like this. We are sick and tired of what’s happening to our country. Again, the media doesn’t understand exactly how pissed the American public is at what we see happening. EVERYONE I know, veteran or citizen, is livid due to what we see being done to our country. I wish with every moment that these socialist, lying, idiots will start acting as Americans and do what is morally right and see the errors of their actions. Otherwise, we are heading for a revolt/revolution against our government officials at every level, from the towns, city, state, and federal level. Put down your pen, get out into the public and you will see what I’m talking about.

  26. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    Generic American Thinker writes:

    Thanks for clarifying what you wrote, but it still reeks of alarm and self righteousness, as if you are the only one who can see the possible problems that new gun owners might have, or the issues gun ownership ‘aggravates’ such as suicide and domestic gun use. Any weapon can be lethal, like a baseball bat or a sharp knife so the issues are not specific to guns but to people who are imperfect and should be responsible with dangerous things. Duh.
    What’s next, an article on crossing the street at night, wearing dark clothes?

  27. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    pschwane737 writes:

    We bought our first gun in June. I have daughters and a wife, and when the crap started hitting the fan, I didn’t know whether the crap would fly in our direction and far enough to hit us (and still don’t).

    Two words. Castle doctrine. ‘Nuff said.

  28. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    Robert L writes:

    The author completely misses the point. There are two drivers behind this, neither of which is related to the CCP virus. First, we see widespread failure of our government to enforce the law, allowing rioters to get off scott free is criminal itself. In short, we don’t trust our own government. Second, the alleged “winner” of the election spent a year telling us how he was going to gut our Second Amendment rights when “elected”, promoting a loonie tune Beto as his gun czar. Americans don’t accept it, and the author doesn’t seem to understand that. Maybe now, she does.

  29. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Bill Voinovich writes:

    NOT because of the pandemic, FOR SURE…

    We have to be able to defend ourselves against the evil that’s running rampant in the country today.

    Since our government doesn’t see fit to stop the advance of this cancer running wild in the streets, then WE have to take it upon OURSELVES to do do something about it, and if that means purchasing guns to defend what’s ours, then THAT’S the way it will BE……

    Pretty evident WHO will take the blame of all of it, and since they don’t think the country is worth defending, then we must take it upon ourselves to stop what’s happening…

    I wouldn’t trust any politician right now to do ANYTHING for the people… All THEY’RE worried about is covering their own REAR ENDS….

    Image may contain: text that says ‘RIOTING CITY MAYOR Asbury Park John Moor (D) Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) Atlantic City Frank Gilliam (D) Boston Martin Walsh (D) Chicago Lori Lightfoot (D) Columbus Andrew Ginther (D) Dallas/Fort Worth Eric Johnson (D) Des Moines Frank Crownie (D) Denver Michael Hancock (D) Detroit Mike Duggan (D) DC Muriel Browser (D) Houston Sylvester Turner (D) LA Eric Garcetti (D) Louisville Greg Fisher (D) Memphis Jim Strickland (D) Minneapolis Jacob Frey (DFL) NYC Bill De Blasio (D) Phoenix Kate Gallego (D) Portland Ted Wheeler (D) Sacramento Darrell Steinberg (D)


    • Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:57 pm

      Steve Robel replies to Bill:

      Bill, I totally agree! We need to take things into our own hands. The politicians do not care about the safety of the people that elect them.

  30. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Juan Esteves writes:

    This country loves guns like Jeffrey Epstein loved underage girls.

  31. Diane Dimond on December 7, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Guy Kurt writes:

    I have been a firearm owner for decades and recently purchased more. I have a gun safe. I am a NRA member.

    Unfortunately politicians vilify the NRA. Like any group or organization I don’t agree with everything. They are absolutely committed to safe gun ownership.
    There are plenty of laws on the books and unfortunately they are not used. So, before people chant for more laws educate yourself on the current enforcement of existing laws.

  32. Diane Dimond on December 8, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Anthony Flacco writes:

    A healthy distrust of government authority seems more important than ever, now.

  33. Diane Dimond on December 8, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Sharon Rager writes:

    How ironic….. the Dems who proclaim to be antigun by fostering defunding police and allowing rioting and other forms of civil disobedience …..are encouraging gun purchases…….

  34. Diane Dimond on December 8, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Jason Bonnet writes:

    People are learning of tyranny in our government.

  35. Diane Dimond on December 8, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Ken Martin writes:

    When seconds count, the police are minutes away, that is the response I hear most frequently.

  36. Diane Dimond on December 8, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Paul Huebl writes:

    This is in anticipation of war with Socialists within the USA. As they step on our Bill of Rights they will be destroyed like the British that tried that long ago…

  37. Diane Dimond on December 8, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Diana Negron writes:

    I live in an area where the majority of households have more than one gun. They never buy guns or ammo because they’re afraid. Some of them like hunting and collecting guns. It’s a cultural thing. They enjoy having a variety of guns at home. Simple.

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