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Proving that delusional thinking is the key to anti-gun agit-prop, gun control advocates have been busy claiming that the U.S. firearms industry is in decline. That’s a bit like saying that men under 30 recognize FLBP as an acronym for the Forest Lands Beautification Program. I don’t think so. With the economy tanking and Obama looking like a two-termer, the firearms industry is on fire. The evidence is everywhere (including here at TTAG). For example . . .

Despite buying an earnings boat anchor that they can’t seem to throw overboard, Smith & Wesson’s earnings and stock price are way up. In case you missed it, headlines the news “Strong gun sales propel Smith & Wesson.”

Smith & Wesson reported a profit of $4.4 million, or 7 cents per share, for the three months ended Jan. 31. Analysts were expecting only 4 cents a share. The company is back in the black after reporting a loss of $52.8 million, or 88 cents per share, a year ago. That year-ago loss was due in part to the plunging value of the perimeter-security systems business the company is now trying to sell.

Revenue for the quarter was also a surprise, coming in at $98.1 million as firearm sales soared. Wall Street was expecting revenue of around $95 million.

And what about firearm sales in Illinois (of all places)? Ladies and gentlemen, we have the data. First, a quick data parsing edu-moment from the hive mind at, explaining another, less sexy acronym: FOID.

FOID is an acronym for Firearm Owners Identification. To legally possess or purchase firearms or ammunition, residents of the state of Illinois are required to have a FOID card.[1] (The term is alternatively pronounced “a foid card” or “an F.O.I.D. card”.) The law has been in effect since 1968.[2]

The FOID card is issued by the Illinois State Police, who first perform a check of the applicant on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), an electronic database maintained by the FBI.

OK, so first the number of FOID cards issued by the Powers That Be in Illinois:

2009 – 326,008 cards
2010 – 287,552 cards
2011 – 321,467 cards

And now, here’s the wiki411 on the other important sales-related acronym from Illinois: FTIP

Illinois law requires that, when a firearm is sold by a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder or at a gun show, the seller perform a dial-up inquiry to the State Police to verify that the buyer’s FOID card is valid. This additional check is known as the Firearm Transfer Inquiry Program (FTIP). At the time of the inquiry, the police perform an automated search of several criminal and mental health databases, including the federal NICS database.

Keep in mind that the FTIP data below does NOT include checks run for concealed carry permits—if for no other reason that Illinois is the only state in these here United that doesn’t understand the simple fact that “bear” means “carry.” In other words, The Land of Lincoln doesn’t issue concealed carry licenses to civilians.

2010 – 229,444
2011 – 275,841

These are big numbers. And there’s no indication that they are falling off the edge of a cliff. So where do gun control advocates get the idea that gun sales are down and going lower? The same place they get the idea that gun control is the key to reducing gun violence: their own fevered imagination.

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  1. The Illinois stats are skewed low, in that over the counter gun sales to out of state residents in border states like Indiana and Wisconsin won’t be tracked through the FOID or FTIP systems.

  2. Not a lot of people from IN and WI are coming to Illinoisikstan to buy firearms at higher tax rates. Especially when there is a mandatory 72 hour wait on pistols and 24 hour wait on handguns regardless of residency.
    The FOID program is useless, and yet another way we must cow-tow to Chicago politics.
    One point, not only is concealed carry illegal, ANY carry is illegal in IL unless you are politically connected. Of course the politicians are better than the rest of us as we all know so a separate set of rules apply to them.

  3. I can’t speak for Wisconsin or Indiana, but here in eastern Iowa gun owners sure as hell aren’t flocking across the Mississippi to buy firearms in Illinois. 
    The only good thing that has come out of the disgusting, unconstitutional, immoral, and draconian firearms laws in The Land of Lincoln is that they make it difficult for the law abiding citizen in Illinois to purchase ammunition. So while most retailers (i.e. Walmart, F&F, etc.) in Iowa can hardly keep pistol ammunition in stock, their counterparts in Illinois always have a ready supply. 

    • OMG! OMG! Ammo smuggling into the People’s Republic of Illinois! Across the Federally-managed Mississippi River! Interstate commerce!! This is a job for SUPERJANET! Yes, it’s time for the highly-trained not-quite-federal-law-enforcement-agents of the TSA to set up CHECKPOINTS on all the bridges and highways leading into the PRIL, and stop EVERY car and truck entering the state to see if they are smuggling ammo! Hey, they are “Transportation” security , not just airplanes. And they are already doing this at train stations, bus stations, and other “random” locations on some highways.

      THAT should help the President’s “economic recovery”. Think of all the “jobs created” in the TSA.

      Nice gun – the 3″ barrel on a small-frame revolver really balances the whole thing from an artistic standpoint.

      • …and we thought that rush-hour bridge traffic was bad before…
        Don’t forget about the Texas-style gun boats on the river to keep hostiles, err…citizens, from boating across state lines with contraband.

  4. Here in the president’s “adopted” hometown, I regularly hear radio commercials for gun shows just over the border in WI or IN. I personally have purchased all mine out of state and any ammo I do buy in state is done as a cash transaction.

  5. It seems some clarification is in order.

    On the Wisconsin border its not uncommon for people just over the line to shop for guns in Illinois.Some people from out of state who are just over the border buy guns in IL for convenience, availabily, or prices. On a visit to a western Chicago suburban Cabelas I spotted a screaming good deal on a couple of new handguns. Surprising as 90% of the time most firearms are severely overpriced compared to my state of residence, but just because IL is a Land of Comrades doesn’t mean good prices on guns can’t be found.

    My point is that while the massed populations of IA, WI,IN,MO,and KY aren’t jamming the highways to buy guns in IL quite a few weapons are sold to customers from all those states and others.How many won’t be tabulated on the FOID or FTIP stats because out of state residents do not need either to buy a gun. This only reinforces the author’s point.

    Ironically as an out of state resident I have an easier time buying a firearm and ammunition in IL than a resident does.

  6. When Smith & Wesson’s brain-dead management team can show a profit, we know that all’s right with the firearms universe. When the British owned the company, the products (other than revolvers) kinda sucked. It’s taken a long time, but S&W’s guns are fantastic. Again. As a lifelong Smith & Wesson weenie of the first magnitude, I’m very happy to see it.

  7. Yes, carry on personal property is allowed, and surprisingly we have a decent castle doctrine. Just last year my wife defended a guy who shot and killed a teen who broke into his home.
    No issues buying ammo here. I order on-line and have it shipped via Brown truck to my door. Of course, if you live in Cook County (Chicago and suburbs) you are pretty much screwed on buying ammo. On-line retailers don’t want the hassle.
    Deals can be found for sure. But Cabelas?? No thanks. Still sits in Cook county and refuse to give that city my tax money. Give me Gunbroker and a $20 FFL transfer fee any day.

  8. Live in Indiana and never bought guns out of state.
    I know you cannot do FTF across state lines without an FFL.
    If I buy a gun in Kentucky from an FFL, would I have to send it to an Indiana FFL for the purchase to be legal?
    I would like to make a run to Bud’s in Lexington KY, but would then I have to ship the gun to an FFL in Indiana?

    • IIRC, you can buy a long gun from an FFL anywhere in the U.S. Handguns can be purchased, but you must take delivery from an FFL in your home state. So, the handgun must be shipped to your FFL in your home state. If you buy a long gun from a non-licensed person out of state, it must be run through an FFL in the sellers’ state. Those are the federal laws as I remember them. State laws may differ.

  9. Hi Robert,
    Cool Post, Few will argue that as far as online game rentals go, the two most used services are Gamefly and Gamerang. Both companies have a well established business and a steadily increasing member base. However, which company is best for you? Well it depends on a series of factors. First of all what exactly is it that you look for in a game rental service? Let’s go through a few of the most frequently looked at features and compare them side by side.

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