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Despite all the whistling-past-the-graveyard propaganda pumped out by the gun controllers who are trying to push the story line that firearm sales are actually down, the gun biz has never been much better. Just ask Ruger’s distributors who can’t place a new order until at least May so the company can work off the backlog. Sure, it may sound like the antis, like Ozzy, are going off the rails on a crazy train, but the NSSF’s not sitting back and letting them define the narrative. They’ve put together a few numbers that show the gun business is one of the few bright stars in an economic firmament of meh. Press release after the jump . . .

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Earlier today, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, released a newly commissioned report detailing double-digit gains in jobs and other data showing the industry has been a leader in the nation’s economic recovery. The report can be viewed at

Firearms industry members were briefed on such remarkable statistics as the 30.6 percent increase in jobs between 2008 and 2011, a 66.5 percent increase in economic impact and a 66.5 percent increase in federal taxes paid by industry companies. Armed with the good news of the report and recognizing that jobs and the economy are of major importance in the November elections, industry executives are scheduled to meet today with elected officials during the NSSF-sponsored Congressional Fly-In.

“During difficult economic times and high unemployment rates nationally, our industry actually grew and created more than ten thousand new, well-paying jobs,” said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. “Our industry is proud to be one of the bright spots in this economy.”

Key Points: Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact

                                                 2008                          2011    % Change
Direct Jobs                         75,600                      98,750    30.6%
Total Jobs                        166,200                    209,750    26.2%
Econ Impact    $19,128,934,700    $31,838,799,400    66.5%

Key Points: Taxes
                                                2008                         2011    % Change
Federal Taxes    $1,503,740,470    $2,503,904,400        66.5%
State Taxes        $1,299,088,680     $2,071,203,430        59.4%
Excise Taxes          $351,540,010         $487,998,106       38.8%
The firearms industry has stood apart from other industries by thriving in a down economy. Indicators such as background-check statistics, firearms production and importation, firearm-retailer surveys and on-the-ground reports from retailers nationwide reveal that Americans are purchasing firearms in record numbers. For example, federal background checks for March totaled nearly 1.2 million in adjusted figures, representing an increase of 20 percent over a year ago and the 22nd straight month-over-month increase. (NSSF adjusts figures from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to remove purpose-code checks associated concealed carry applications and permits. Though not a direct correlation to firearm sales, adjusted NICS figures provide a more accurate picture of market conditions.)

This year’s robust sales are a continuation of the economic growth the firearms and ammunition industry experienced last year that was driven by an unprecedented number of Americans choosing to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms and purchase a firearm and ammunition. This increase in firearms ownership coincided with the continued decline in accidental firearm-related fatalities–a more than a 60 percent decrease in the last 20 years–and a continued drop in crime rates nationally.

Also cited in the economic impact report were the significant taxes paid by industry member companies to federal and state governments and the Pittman-Robertson excise tax the industry pays on the products it sells. The latter tax is the major source of wildlife conservation funding in America.

“Last year our industry increased its contribution to wildlife conservation by over seven percent, which translates into sportsmen contributing more than 1.3 million dollars daily to conservation efforts,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane.

“Ours is an industry with a rich history and heritage that remains vital and important to the American economy today,” continued Keane. “To millions of Americans our industry’s products represent liberty, security and recreation. We look forward to speaking with members of Congress today about important legislative and regulatory issues that will allow our industry members to continue to grow their businesses and create even more new jobs in their communities.”

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  1. The tax haul is one way to look at it.

    From my perspective, it is easy to see the firearms industry is going full-tilt. If you called up a custom barrel company last year and asked for a popular barrel caliber/twist, you’d probably have been told “nine weeks.”

    Today, Krieger is out nearly six months. I called PacNor last December on a barrel and was told their times had gone from nine to 15 weeks. Douglas is seeing increased times, as was Lilja when I last asked. All of these were barrel go into custom guns, and need to be fitted by a gunsmith. These aren’t “off the shelf” barrels for a handy gun owner to screw into their receiver with a wrench…

    You can’t hardly find AR-15 parts in stock, especially lowers/uppers/barrels. Reamers and tooling are now starting to see increased leadtimes as well.

    • Good luck getting gunsmithing or build work done in anything resembling a reasonable time, too. I have a Galil getting built, and the builder basically told me has no estimate as to when he’ll get done with the stuff in front of it. I also recently was able to send my Hi-Power out to a well-known gunsmith for some basic work… elapsed wait time was about six months. Even the local guys are backed up a couple months.

      And that’s not even talking about the delays the ATF has on approving NFA items. That Galil build is an SBR coming to me on a form 4 – I’ll be lucky to pull the trigger on it before next year. I should really document this stuff, so the kid(s) know what a PITA it was to build their inheritance after I’m dead.

      I’m STILL waiting on the M193 I ordered from Brownells a couple months ago. That stuff finally started coming down in price, and then it just completely vanished. *sigh* Might have to start stocking up on steel-cased ammo just to shoot.

  2. I’m expecting Larry Potterfield to walk up my driveway any day now and ask for permission to kiss my fat arse ……… or deliver a hand written thank you card, at least!

  3. The question is this, in the high times (high economic times) does the firearm industry do as well. I am pretty sure the answer is no, however, the firearm industry seems to be “recession” proof. Just my thoughts.

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