The number of older Americans enrolling in basic firearm courses led by NRA Certified Instructors has jumped fourfold since 2010, recently released data shows, making people over 65 one of the fastest-growing demographics in gun ownership and the shooting sports.
Demand has risen so much that Frontier Justice, a gun shop and indoor range in Lees Summit, Kan., has started offering seniors-only firearm training classes this year, ranging from basic pistol skills for beginners to tactical classes for more advanced shooters. On many mornings, seniors can be seen waiting outside for the range to open its doors in an effort to take advantage of as much practice time as possible.
While some of the elderly patrons enjoy shooting for recreational purposes—“My friends like to knit; I like to shoot,” a regular patron explained to Frontier Justice President Bren Brown—some are there because they recognize that older Americans are often the targets of violent crime. “I hope I never have to use it,” another patron, 79-year-old Jack Kirce, said. “But if I have to, I’ve got it.”