Buffalo, N.Y. (WIVB)– Director of Public Affairs at the National Shooting and Sports Foundation Mark Oliva said gun sales in 2020 surpassed previous records.

“We had 21 million background checks for a sale of a firearm that is by far the strongest year we have ever had on record. The previous record before 2020 was 15.7 million background checks for the sale of a firearm,” Oliva said.

Oliva noted that in 2020 there were 8.4 million gun purchases from first-time buyers. Moreover, 40% of overall gun sales were from women, and gun purchases by African American’s spiked by 58%.

“It really is a tectonic shift, when we look at whose the gun owner this year and you’ll see that today’s gun buyer looks a whole lot less like me, a middle-aged white guy and more like the rest of America,” Oliva said.

Oliva said the growing number of gun owners has contributed to the increased demand for ammunition.

“You start to throw in all these new buyers, all the people who are using already, and you start to throw in a little bit of the panic effect that goes in with seeing a bare shelves you kind of get a picture of why it’s been so difficult to find the ammunition we need.”

Oliva said it’s uncertain when manufacturers will catch up to the heightened demand for ammunition.

“We are probably going to have elevated buying that is going to go well into this year, how long that goes on for will really, be dictated by the opening moves of the Biden administration when it comes to gun control,” Oliva said.

Owner of Firearms Training of Western New York James Emmick said new gun owners in western New York options were limited in learning how to shoot their firearms due to COVID-19 restrictions and winter weather.

“It’s really is frustrating to have all these new gun owners going, I’m a little nervous I have this new gun and I need training, and saying there is not much we can do right now,” Emmick said.

Emmick noted that half of his students in 2020 told him they never thought they would own a gun.

“A lot, a lot of people, I mean people who said my spouse always wanted me to get my pistol permit and I never thought I would, but now I should,” Emmick said.