ATF Report Paints Picture of America’s Appetite for Guns

   03.01.16

ATF Report Paints Picture of America’s Appetite for Guns

The annual ATF report [PDF] on the manufacture of firearms is out, and as always it’s worth poking through for info on what guns make it into the market and from where.

Probably the biggest number out of the report is the total number of firearms in 2013 (most of the tables in the report go only through 2013, and some through 2014): 10,884,792. This is over three times the number of guns made in the early 2000’s. I imagine that if we had numbers for 2015, the numbers would be even higher.

The other thing that I found particularly interesting about the report is that gun production peaked the first time in 1995 at 5,173,217 guns, then declined to a low of 2,932,655 in 2001 before trending back up.

As remarkable as the post-1995 drop in gun production is, the general consensus among gun people is that the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban didn’t really affect the industry, and indeed the chart (seen above) breaking down weapons by type bears this out, as handgun production drops in 1995 and rifle production stays pretty steady until 2009, which is the year that sees a big uptick in long guns in particular.

The other crazy number in the report is that of the 10 million plus guns made here in 2013, only a fraction of them (393,121) were exported out of the country. The rest were for domestic purchase.

As for imports, we imported 5,539,539 guns in 2013, so half again as many guns as were made. This puts the domestic market for brand new firearms at about 15 million guns in 2013–that’s a lot of guns.

Moving to 2014, there’s a by-country breakdown of gun imports, and Austria is far and away the most popular source of imported firearms. I imagine most of those are Glocks. Croatia comes in a distant second, and I know that Springfield definitely contributes to that since that’s where their handguns are made. I found it interesting that Japan is on the import list, as well. What guns are made in Japan? Can anyone help out?

Finally, NFA applications have been trending strongly up the past few years, which is not a surprise to anyone who follows the industry. Would that the proposed legislation to remove suppressors from the NFA rules would pass, so that this number could crater for a good reason.

Texas, of course, is far and away the largest destination for NFA guns, with 403,185 weapons registered in the state. California is number two, a fact that doesn’t surprise anyone who knows that CA is the second largest firearms market outside of Texas. Florida comes in next, and then Pennsylvania, which surprised me.

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