Kentucky ranks #1 in new gun owners

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NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ)- A new study says Kentucky is by far the leading state in the nation when it comes to new gun owners, with close to one percent of the total population buying a gun for the first time this year.

The study, published by the National Carry Academy, found that more than 420,000 Kentuckians underwent background checks to purchase a gun in the month of March alone.

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More than quadruple the percentage of people in even the second and third place states of West Virginia and Illinois.

These stats may seem shocking to some but for Seth Dix, a gun shop owner, these numbers aren’t too surprising.

“No, I’ve seen an increase of new shooters, novice shooters on a daily basis,” said Dix, owner of Semper Fi Firearms in Nicholasville.

Dix estimates a little more than half of all his customers are first-time gun buyers, like Matt Stevens who purchased his first gun here back in 2016.

“It was something I kind of wanted not only for protection but it was just my right to own one,” said Stevens.

Dix says Stevens reason is a common one he hears from first-time buyers.

“They’re buying firearms because they want to buy firearms or they, the increase in criminal activity in the area,” said Dix.

But Dix says he also thinks the culture of Kentucky plays an equally big role in the high number of gun owners.

“Guns are a big part of who we are. From our history until the evolution of the county, the evolution of the state, you know Kentucky has always had a high percentage of service to the country,” said Dix.

Dix says he doesn’t expect this trend to end anytime soon.

He says he expects more and more new customers to come through the doors in the coming months.