The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) released some fascinating data recently. It shows nearly 20 million modern sporting rifles in circulation in the United States. Any way you cut it, that’s a helluva lot of Molon Labe.
Americans Own Nearly 20 Million Modern Sporting Rifles
And that’s really the point driving the release of this data, isn’t it? As a Biden White House looms, so too does an attempt America’s most popular semi-automatic rifle, the AR-15. With it, an entire class of erroneously termed “assault rifles” will no doubt face unprecedented gun control efforts. So no better time to take stock of just what exactly that means for gun owners.
The data comes from ATF’s Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Reports, combined with U.S. Internal Trade Commission data, according to NSSF. According to the data, 2018 saw 11.4 million firearms produced or imported into the U.S.; nearly one-half, 48 percent, comprised of modern sporting rifles.
Since 1990, modern sporting rifle numbers swelled to an estimated 19.8 million. American manufacturers produced 6 million firearms in 2019 alone. Of those, gun companies produced 2 million rifles. Another 3.3 million firearms were imported into the U.S. in 2019.
Here’s where the numbers get truly massive. From 1991 to 2019, nearly 214 million firearms hit the U.S. market. Today, ATF research estimates 434 million firearms in U.S. civilian hands. Estimates suggest approximately 71 million pistol magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Meanwhile, experts believe another 79.2 million rifle mags holding more than 30 rounds in circulation.
Finally, we can’t overstate the economic impact upon the United States. The industry maintains nearly 12,000 jobs. Meanwhile, it produces $3.9 billion in goods shipped, per 2018 data. Ammo companies produced an estimated 8.7 billion rounds of ammunition in 2018 alone.
“These figures, combined with the record-breaking 17.2 million NSSF-adjusted background checks for the sale or transfer of a firearm in the first ten months of 2020, demonstrates that Americans have a strong desire to continue purchasing firearms for lawful purposes,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF’s President and CEO. “The Modern Sporting Rifle continues to be the most popular rifle sold in America today, and with nearly 20 million in circulation, is clearly a commonly-owned firearm that is being used for lawful purposes every day in America. The continued popularity of handguns demonstrates a strong interest by Americans to protect themselves, their family and homes, as well as to participate in the recreational shooting sports.
A Biden White House will seek to undue it all. It will systematically ban America’s most popular self-defense arms. It will tax gun owners into oblivion. Then it will fundamentally attack industry companies, enabling lawyers to murder gun companies with deaths of a thousand cuts. Then by using the ATF to reverse rulings in multiple product categories, it will attempt to make felons of us all.
During this incredible period of record, with guns surging like never before, violent crime declined by 51.3 percent. Meanwhile, unintentional firearm-related fatalities dropped by 68.2 percent.
A modern sporting rifle ban doesn’t make you safer. It simply makes us weaker.