Still in overalls, the two pros and an associate enjoy an afternoon rush at the South Shore Shooting Range.
The crackling of a rapid fire could be heard from a parking lot on a quiet street dotted with towering oak trees and homes with backyard pools in suburban Islip.
Jane and Shelby, friends who don’t want their last names to be used, take position on two indoor shooting lanes. Wearing noise-canceling headphones and protective goggles, I aimed my lever action rifle and pistol at a target representing a human body.
“I’m not a newbie. We’re just getting started. I’m looking to buy a gun.
“I’m going to do some practice. I’m not saying I’m enthusiastic, I’m just trying to learn.”
Jane and Shelby are part of a growing number of Americans, especially women and people of color, who are spending on gun purchases across the country. For many it is a first time.
Interest in firearms has surged as fatal mass shootings account for more than 45,404 deaths in motor vehicle accidents, up from 48,830, according to the most recent data from the CDC. In the past two weeks, four people have been shot and one killed in upstate New York, Kansas City and Texas after accidentally driving to the wrong address or opening the wrong door.
The number of state and national criminal background checks required before purchasing a firearm, and a rough indicator of how many people are buying firearm permits, has jumped from less than 30 million to nearly 40 million during the pandemic. , according to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
“The fear of the unknown and the chaos of the pandemic were motivating factors,” said Shelby, a Suffolk County resident from Long Island who bought the gun.
“I don’t know if I was uncomfortable with where I lived. It was like what was going to happen next because everything was getting crazy.