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Guns on the Grow: ATF Annual Report

by Robert W. Hunnicutt   |  June 4th, 2013 0

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has issued its annual report Firearms Commerce in the United States, 2013, and as always, there are a lot of interesting statistical nuggets to be gleaned. Remember that there is always a year’s delay in the production and import figures, so the 2013 report includes numbers from 2011.

The headline number is that more than 6.5 million guns were manufactured in 2011, up almost a million from 2010 and up more than 2 million from 2008. Imports were more than 4.8 million, up almost 1.6 million from 2010 and 2.2 million from 2008. Recall that the antis claim the same six guys are buying all the additional guns, so they must have some really big safes.

The proportions of different firearms types remained about the same. Of the 6.5 million, 40% were pistols, 9% revolvers, 35% rifles and 13% shotguns. The category of “miscellaneous firearms,” which includes things like stripped AR receivers, was 3%, and it’s interesting to note that category has more than doubled in the last 20 years.

Of the imported arms, the greatest number, 886,814, came from Brazil, with Austria, Germany, Turkey and Italy rounding out your top five. Belgium and Spain, once dominant exporters to this country, managed only a bit over 50,000 between them to rank about mid-pack. The big news on imports, of course, is China, which managed 202,267, all of them rimfire rifles and shotguns. Can you imagine what the Chinese numbers could be if AKs, SKSs and the Norinco 1911 were still importable?

If you’re curious about how many Springfield XDs are out there, Croatia sent 389,014 pistols here in 2011, no rifles or shotguns. That’s one for everyone in Minneapolis.

The NFA section of the report has some other tasty tidbits. Congress may have outlawed new manufacture of machine guns for domestic use in 1986, but that didn’t stop transfer and making tax revenues from more than doubling between 2008 and 2012, with the figure for the latter year being more than $12 million. That buys a lot of suppressor and SBR tax stamps!

Don’t show Mike Bloomberg, but the NFA Weapons by State section shows there are more than a half-million registered machine guns out there, and a similar number of silencers. Short barreled rifles and shotguns add up to about a quarter-million. That market is served by 2,973 Class III dealers.

The number of FFL dealers has risen to 50,848, which sounds great until you consider there were close to a quarter-million 20 years ago. Pawnbroker licenses are up a bit as well, but the real success story is C&R licenses, which have increased from 5,211 in 1975 to 61,885 in 2012.

Despite all the huffing and puffing by the antis, we are in the middle of a Golden Age of firearms sales (we won’t comment on the ammo situation). Only the seriously delusional can think that just a few existing gun owners are driving sales in these numbers. There are a lot of gun owners in this country, and there are getting to be many more every day. We will continue to suffer reverses in benighted constituencies like California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland or New York, but our numbers and power are growing. Now if we could just find some ammo to shoot in all those guns!

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