SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY — During the same week that the United States held its presidential election, Robin Mazzocca of Wading River took her first shooting lesson at a target range in Riverhead.

Mazzocca, who took the lesson at Baits & Barrels, is the new face of gun ownership during a time when research and anecdotal accounts indicate that sales of firearms and ammunition are skyrocketing.

The pandemic, coupled with the threat of civil unrest and a possible tightening of gun control legislation under a new administration, sent clients lining up for hours at gun shops across Long Island and the nation. And the customer base isn’t comprised of those who fit the former demographic. Instead, there’s been a significant uptick in first-time gun buyers and women, experts say.

For Mazzocca, the desire to protect herself first took deep root about nine years ago, when she was home alone with her daughter, then just a year old, at their home in East Quogue — and three men broke in and entered the house

“It was so scary,” she said. “It was terrified — it was traumatizing. I had such nightmares afterward.”

Mazzocca hit the panic alarm and ran into the closet; the men fled the house. Now, years later, Mazzocca and her husband and daughter have moved to Wading River, where she has security cameras, an alarm system and a dog.

“But I still was feeling that we needed something else,” she said. While she