There could be thousands of new gun owners in California since the start of the pandemic, according to a new study released by UC Davis.
The study shows about 110,000 Californians purchased a firearm between the start of the pandemic to mid-July, with about 43 percent of those purchases being made by first-time gun owners.
"I have had over 150 students in those [first-time owner] classes, and with limiting the class size to four people at a time, I've had a lot of classes in the last six months," said Danny Wells, owner of The Gun School.
While motivations behind the purchases might have started due to uncertainty with the virus, many say that has since changed.
"We had a number of officer-involved shootings in our local area which is unprecedented. We don't normally see that in our lovely San Luis Obispo County area. With those things going off, people were again concerned for their safety so it was quite an upswing in firearms, ammunition and related accessories," explained Jim Mulhall, co-owner of Rooster's Firearms.
Mulhall says the new sales have been good for business but cautions those looking to pull the trigger on a new purchase that buying a gun isn't as easy as some may think.
"It's very interesting to see people who would come in and select a firearm and then want to walk out with it. We had to explain to them based on California laws, that are the most stringent in the United States, there is a 10-day waiting period and they had to produce quite a number of documents to purchase that firearm," Mulhall said.
Wells says he hopes people consider taking a course like the one he provides before making a purchase to learn if owning a weapon is for them.
The UC Davis study cautions this buying trend could have negative consequences, such as raising the number of firearm-related injuries and deaths.