A recent industry report has revealed the number of firearms that were either imported or produced for private ownership in America between 1986 and 2018 has reached nearly 423 million.
However this is only a conservative estimate as firearms produced before 1986 have not been included while the amount of guns that have been removed from circulation have also not been taken into consideration.
However the report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade group for the firearms industry, has discovered that more than 17.7 million modern sporting rifles – a term meaning any semi-automatic rifle including the AR-15 – were imported or produced between 1990 and 2017.
In a press release relating to the study, President of the foundation Joe Bartozzi commented:
“These figures show the industry that America has a strong desire to continue to purchase firearms for lawful purposes. The Modern Sporting Rifle continues to be the most popular centerfire rifle sold in America today and is clearly a commonly owned firearm with more than 17 million in legal ownership today. The continued popularity of handguns demonstrates a strong interest by Americans to protect themselves and their homes, and to participate in the recreational shooting sports.”
There have been many calls to place a ban on owning guns as well as stopping the sale of these kinds of “assault weapons,” though it is clear from this report that these kinds of guns are common throughout the United States. Only two years ago, over half of all rifles produced in America were modern sporting rifles.
Yet the production of domestic weapons has gone up and down dramatically in recent years. Although there was a dip in the amount of firearms being produced in 2010 there has been a constant growth in the production of guns since 2005.
However from 2014 the numbers dropped again, this time by 15 percent, before seeing a small increase over the next few years, before seeing a drop of more than 25 percent in 2017.
The interim estimate for 2018 shows that this drop in production is set to continue, with the industry producing around 7.6 million firearms which is slightly lower than the year before.
Cultural and political events, both big and small, have been a major influence in the way the market fluctuates with the amount of gun sales varying depending not only on the mood of the nation, but also whether the country is in an election year.
A report from the Connecticut Post highlighted the fact that the number of handguns that were sold rose slightly during the period directly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School’s 2012 shooting, while sales saw a significant increase just before the 2016 presidential election.
According to the Pew Research Center, an estimated 30 percent of American adults now own a gun while 11 percent live in a property where at least one other adult has a firearm. It is also claimed that the biggest group to own guns are white men with nearly 50 percent confirming they own at least one. However only a quarter of non-white men and white women own guns.
The report could not have come at a better time as Congress has promised to put $25 million towards federal research into the country’s gun violence, the first time that the government has agreed to look in to the problem in over twenty years.
As part of a $1.4 trillion spending spree the research has come at a time when America is still trying to come to terms with the growing number of mass shootings, especially around schools.
The House Appropriations Committee managed to gain the funding and the chair, Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey, confirmed in a statement:
“With this investment, the best public health researchers in the country will be put to work to identify ways to reduce injury and death due to firearms.”
However, although the research funding has been agreed by the House it still needs to be approved by the Senate before finally making its way in front of President Trump to be signed off.
The news has brought praise from many sections of America including the American Public Health Association with executive director Dr. Georges C. Benjamin acknowledging the funding, saying:
“We applaud Congress for finally providing the critical funding we have been requesting. This will support public health research that is essential to answering questions about the best ways to reduce the morbidity and mortality from firearms in the United States.”
Meanwhile Dr. Robert McLean, president of the American College of Physicians has also expressed his delight commenting that “the alarming rate of injuries and deaths related to firearms brings to light the glaring lack of research and data. For over twenty years, we’ve desperately needed up-to-date research about firearm violence and intervention and prevention strategies to reduce physical as well as emotional injuries caused by firearms.”