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ATF Press release [via]

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has released the 2016 Annual Statistical Update of Firearm Commerce in the United States. Through a series of easy-to-read tables and charts, the Annual Statistical Update presents data drawn from a number of ATF reports and records in one comprehensive document.

The report also provides comparative data from as far back as 1975 for context, analyses of trends over the years, and a fuller picture of the state of firearm commerce in the United States today.

A few examples of data available in the Update:

  • The number of firearms manufactured in the U.S. from 1986 through 2014 (the last year for which data is available), with a breakdown by types of firearms.
  • Rifles were the most manufactured firearm in the United States in all but 10 of the last 29 years, with pistols taking the top spot in 1990-1994, and 2010-2014.
  • The number of firearms imported into the United States from 1986-2015, with a breakdown by type, as well as country of manufacture.
  • Handguns were the most imported firearm in all but six of the last 30 years;
  • Austria was the No. 1 country of manufacture for firearms imported into the United States in 2015.
  • The number of firearms exported from the United States, by type, from 1986-2014 (the last year for which data is available).
  • The number of firearms exported annually ranges from a high of 431,204 in 1993, to a low of 139,920 in 2004. In 2014, the United States exported 420,932 firearms.
  • The number of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) by state, 1975-2015, as well as FFL actions and compliance data.
  • Last year, 139,840 FFLs were operating throughout the United States, with Texas (10,910), California (8,261), and Florida (7,507) home to the highest number of FFLs.
  • The number of National Firearms Act (NFA) registered firearms as of March 2014, with types and a breakdown by state, as well as details regarding NFA revenues and numbers processed from 1984-2013.
  • In 2015, ATF processed 1,545,847 NFA-related firearms

Full report:

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  1. California, with its tough gun laws, comes in 2nd in the country in NFA items:

    3,884 AOW
    256,420 Destructive Device(!)
    29,516 Machine Guns
    11,702 Suppressors
    9,472 SBR
    13,423 SBS
    324,417 total..

    Behind Texas (468,581 total).

    That’s a lot of boating accidents waiting to happen… And WTF with all of those destructive devices! They can’t all be for Hollywood!

    • Take CA out of the equation and a lot of gun companies will be screwed. The big 3. Texas, Florida, CA. Any of those 3 collapse and the whole country goes down with them. IMHO.

      • I don’t know about that jwm. Most, if not all of the firearms manufacturers already refuse to play ball with California’s approved handgun roster … meaning they are not adding any new handguns to California’s roster. I don’t know if the manufacturers continue to make “old” models that are still on the roster. I suspect that they have discontinued production of such models. And we know that manufacturers are not going out of their way to make California compliant AR platform rifles. In spite of these difficulties (and resulting reduction in sales to California residents), the firearms manufacturers seem to be holding their own.

        What is your insight on this aspect of the firearms manufacturing and sales situation for California?

        • Somebody is going out of their way to make the AR 15’s cause i see them in every gun shop here. Semi auto handguns are were we get hurt. But that may be a partial explanation for revolvers sales growing some.

          We have roughly 9 million gun owners here. That’s a hell of a market chunk for a company that wishes to make a profit to ignore.

        • Four facts about California:
          1) It is impossible to add any new semi-automatic pistols to the California roster without microstamping.
          2) Microstamping is next to impossible to do.
          3) Almost any change to the design of a pistol – such as going from a machined to a MIM part, means that the pistol design is now “new” for California’s purposes, and must be re-tested as a new model – including microstamping.
          4) Modern manufacturers are constantly changing their designs to cut cost, improve quality, respond to customer feedback, improve safety, improve reliability, reduce parts count, etc.

          Therefore, the number of semi-automatic pistols on California’s roster will continue to decline unless and until the microstamping requirement is overturned. It has little or nothing to do with manufacturers “refusing to play ball”. They would if they could, but it’s impossible.

    • I think there’s a good reason for that, since people have to register their scary looking guns anyways. Once you already have to do that, you may as well get an SBR or a machine gun instead. Penny for a pound and all that.

    • Each and every flashbang is a DD, and if an agency buys any then they get registered. They don’t pay a tax, but they’re papered all the same. Most DDs in the registry are CTS 7290 grenades.

    • Some population factor there, to be sure. 12 million more people than Texas, and double that of Florida.

      The other interesting one to me is Virginia, which at a glance appears to be near the highest per capita. 281k (4k more than Florida) with less than half the population. Damn.

      • And now I’m going to respond to myself, because assumptions bother me. I made a chart (link here), and I was wrong, sorta. Virginia is near the top in NFA per capita, but not as high as I thought.

        Wyoming is the big winner, with 127,787 registered NFA items and a population of 582,658, yielding 219.3 NFA items per thousand people, and by far the only state to be in triple digits, at nearly 3x the #2 position.

        Clearly the government is factored into these numbers, because #2 on the list is the District of Columbia. 48,895 NFA items against a population of 646,449 gives up 71.0 NFA items per thousand people, and you know those aren’t in civilian hands in DC.

        Rounding out the top 5:
        New Mexico, 44.2
        Virginia, 34.1
        Alabama, 27.9

        Since I’m from Florida, I’ll observe that once again this state can’t decide who it wants to be, and comes in squarely in the middle at #28, with 14.2 NFA items per thousand people.

        California slides in at #42 on the list, with 8.5 NFA items per thousand people.

        The bottom five (with last place surprising precisely no one) are:
        Michigan, 5.3
        Massachusetts, 4.9
        Delaware, 4.8
        Rhode Island, 3.9
        New York, 3.6 NFA items per thousand people

  2. They need to think real hard about any confiscation plans because of the sheer number of arms. I think they missed the opportunity years ago to clamp down.

    • That boat sailed in the flintlock era. The brits tried a confiscation and it didn’t work so well.

    • for most of the present presidential administration the people of this country have legally armed themselves at an alarming rate. We buy small arms each week outnumbering what the US ground forces actually HAS! I think you are right.

    • It wont be a confiscation. Dems will continue to pass anti 2A laws that will, over time, degrade the rights of 2A owners. Think ahead, 10-20 or 25 years down the road, some states really do outlaw ALL semi-auto pistols (and it survives a Hillary-built SCOTUS). They dont confiscate, but if you get caught with one, or even worse using one, its a off to felony time for you. Now add scary EBR to that, plus whatever other jack-ass laws they can pass..

  3. This what they spend billions of our tax dollars on? A report detailing all the unconstitutional activities they’re engaged in and unnecessary statistics about imported/exported weapons?

    I’ll bet NSSF could provide those numbers to the public and the industry cheaper and sooner, if the need existed and the BATFE were appropriately disbanded (and/or jailed).

    • Cliff, the numbers are self-reported by the firearms industry (under penalty of perjury). All manufacturers have to report this once a year. The government doesn’t research these numbers; they just take the numbers from the industry and put them in a nice format. I believe it may just be one person at ATF. So this report really only costs his/her salary…plus all the time it takes the manufacturers to put the report together. For some manufacturers with very low production or ultra-sophisticated computer systems, it may be relatively low-impact to do – “yeah, we made 3 guns this year” or “yeah, the computer says we produced and sold 493,843 in the following configurations”. For me, it takes a solid week of my time every year to make sure it’s done right.

      I believe at the bottom of the form it says “we estimate this will take 15 minutes to complete”. Ha.

      I believe the numbers are intentionally delayed by a year to make sure secret information is protected. It also gives ATF time to go after any stragglers and tell them to hurry up and report their production.

      For example, if Smith & Wesson began making silencers, it would be very helpful for Remington/AAC or SilencerCo to know this sooner rather than later. The point is that the report comes out late enough that anything it tells you about your competitors is basically old news.

  4. Are there any “misc firearms” that aren’t AOW beyond that short barreled shotgun that abuses the NFA definitions and is legally unresitricted?

    • “Are there any “misc firearms” that aren’t AOW beyond that short barreled shotgun that abuses the NFA definitions and is legally unresitricted?”

      Dunno. I’ve been waiting for weeks to hear from the ATF on the legality of building a Belton Flintlock.

    • Miscellaneous is defined by the ATF in the report as pistol-grip firearms (shotguns that came from the factory with a pistol-grip), starter pistols (?), frames and receivers. I think that we all know why this category has grown by leaps and bounds of late.

  5. Nobody wants your penis compensators. Corruption is a fact of life in the nra/gun-lobby dominated government. Democracy is what helps us survive that. Donald Trump and his gun lobby pimps is an affront to american freedoms and democracy.

    • Willy, so you’re saying I no longer need a firearm for my job? I need to tell my boss on Monday. You’re going to let the crooks I investigate know that they no longer need their guns also?

    • I’ve said this elsewhere but I figure I can repeat it once or twice.

      All you have to do is look at the names of the two big parties.

      Republics: They tend favor a Republic where minority rights are protected by law.

      Democrats: Tend to favor Democracy (mob rule) where the rights of the minority are subject to the whims of the majority.

      • I tend to prefer calling them Tastycrats and Fingerliclans.

        I don’t think either party – as they exist today – are interested in either a small republican style government, or having the mass of people making any non-trivial decisions for themselves.

    • According to the incredibly detailed charts that you skipped right over, you couldn’t be more incorrect. Apparently, LOTS of people want “penis compensators”.
      Personally I don’t really want a compensator for my penis, the threading sounds painful and my gunsmith is too expensive. Maybe Cerakote, once I decide on a good color scheme.

    • The naïveté of this statement is astounding.

      Democracy is what helps us survive that.

      Wrong. Democracy is why congress listens to the NRA. The NRA has enough voters to influence elections, voters, Lunchmeat. Democracy and voters. Even many people who aren’t members of the NRA understand their position and vote accordingly. Voters, Lunchmeat.

    • It always cracks me when people toss out the “penis compensator” jibe considering my addiction to short barreled rifles.

  6. It is interesting to note upward movement of revolvers (numerically not percentage wise) over the last few years (compared to late 90s through the 2000s). Apparently some folks still like wheel guns. I know Airweights and LCRs are popular as are the Taurus Judge type guns (which I think are dorky).

    Personally, I’ve bought revolvers, pistols, rifles, and shotguns over the last several years. I sure do love revolvers though. My 642 slips perfectly into a pocket, and my Security Six inspires confidence.

    I also bet that a lot of the movement in rifles has been MSRs. The sale of 10/22s and hunting rifles has probably been fairly constant. The Democrats pursuaded me to buy an AR15. I know they talked a lot of other people into buying them as well.

  7. Damn those same dozen OFWGs sure are buying a lot of guns. Because according to the leftists gun ownership is and has been declining for decades.

    • Yeah. By now, if the lefties were actually right about that, there should be a few cities in Texas and Florida where all of the houses are 2,500 square foot Liberty safes. ?

  8. But.. But.. The NYT and Josh Sugarmann and Bloomberg and Debbie Wassermann-Schultz and Diane Feinstein and Chuck Schumer and Kuntz Gershmann said gun ownership is at an all time low!

    How am I going to feel smug sipping wine in my loft wearing loafers listening to smooth jazz if that isn’t true?

    The NYT told me real men don’t need guns! This report scares me! But I’m a real man, right?

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