NBC’s Today: Millennials the New Face of Gun Ownership in America

Sarah Bard, of Gilbert, shoots at Caswells Shooting Range, Tuesday, April 6, 2010 in Mesa, Ariz. in preparation for her upcoming concealed weapons test. Gov. Jan Brewer has signed into law two bills supported by gun-rights activists. One of the bills signed Monday would broaden the state's current restrictions on …
AP/Matt York

After years of gun control proponents claiming gun owners are a dying breed of old white guys who keep the gun industry afloat by hoarding more and more guns to themselves, NBC’s Today show aired a segment showing that millennials have stepped up to become the new face of gun ownership in America.

Today opened the segment by citing polls that reinforce the typical stereotype of gun owners—they are “predominantly white, predominately male,” and “mostly” over the age of 55. Then, everything changes as Today looks at the new generation of gun owners—consisting of “all kinds of young people” who “line up to shoot” at gun ranges that cater to young professionals and at outdoor shoots that center on female involvement as much as male.

Not only is millennial gun ownership not just male, it’s also not just white. Today makes this clear by interviewing young black shooters and showing Hispanic shooters at the range.

Today explains that this “new generation of gunslingers” is “flourishing on reddit, Facebook, and YouTube.” Unlike previous gun owners, they are “young” and “diverse,” and represented by shooters like Kirsten Joy Weiss, a 28-year-old whose “Annie Oakley-style trick shots have helped her rack up hundreds of thousands of views [on YouTube].”

Speaking to Today, Weiss said mass public crimes with guns “underscore in [her] mind that shooting is a martial art. And with any martial art… it can teach focus and discipline, and, for lack of a better word, zen, but on the other side, it can be used for evil.”

Today asked Weiss what she says to people who counter by arguing that “Karate can’t wipe out a whole school of children?” Weiss responded, “Karate might not actually save a school full of children, whereas if you had someone who was trained with a gun, who knew how to use it responsibly, he could actually save those people.”

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