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Sunday, October 23, 2016

By John Diedrich, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MILWAUKEE — Guns are doing a booming business, with the industry manufacturing, selling and importing firearms at a 27-year high, according to a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The report also shows the ATF inspected just 7.6 percent of the roughly 140,000 Federal Firearms Licensees, a seven-year low, as the agency struggles a fulfill a promise to inspect all gun dealers every five years.

Firearms Commerce in the United States, released Thursday, shows there were 8.6 million guns manufactured in 2012, a 31 percent increase over 2011. In 1986, there were 3 million guns manufactured. Figures for 2013 were not included.

All categories of guns grew but pistols and revolvers jumped the most.

The report shows the U.S. imported far more guns that it exported, by a ratio of 19-to-1, in 2013. Brazil was the largest source of guns imported into the U.S. with 975,000. Austria was a close second, with the majority of that country’s imports coming from handguns.

The report showed that as of last month, there were 3.7 million weapons registered under the National Firearms Act in the U.S. Those firearms include machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, silencers, destructive devices and other weapons. Under federal law, they must be registered with the U.S. government.

There was a six-year high in the number of checks under the NFA last year, about 7,000, which generated $22 million in taxes.

In 2013, there were nearly 140,000 federally licensed gun dealers. In the early 1990s, there were nearly 300,000 dealers but the figure dropped after the government increased the cost of licenses. The number has been steadily rising since 1997, the report shows.

The ATF has been criticized by government investigators for not inspecting a larger percentage of dealers. The agency has said it does not have enough inspectors.

Photo: Mike Saechang via Flickr

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    What? Allow the ATF to actually inspect gun shops? Well, I never…

  • Independent1

    Now why would you suspect that the ATF doesn’t have enough inspectors?? It wouldn’t have anything to do with the GOP cutting funding for the agency would it?? And why would anyone expect that might happen with all the money the NRA is donating to GOP congressional candidates???

  • Allan Richardson

    The right wing does not want ANY business (except the airlines THEY fly, the builders of the roads and bridges THEY drive on, the builders of THEIR houses, etc.) to have ANY regulation. And they don’t even PROSECUTE when businesses they didn’t regulate have accidents they would not have had, if they had voluntarily used good judgement.

    The Prime Minister of South Korea felt such shame for allowing that ferry to sink (even though he probably could not have prevented it) on HIS watch that he resigned. I suspect that in an earlier era he would have committed ritual suicide (hara-kiri is Japanese, but Korean tradition may have something similar). If our politicians had that much of a sense of honor and personal responsibility for their policies, Rick Perry would have apologized and resigned when the fertilizer plant in West, which was built too close to apartments and churches, and had not been inspected in 27 years, blew up with the resultant tragic loss of life and property. But the populace of the town, and the authorities in Texas, are not even holding them responsible AFTER the tragedy! Probably afraid they will rebuild somewhere ELSE instead of in West, and take those jobs away. The jobs that got the plant workers killed, of course.

    In conservative vocabulary today, “freedom” means the freedom for a business to be as careless as they wish, not inspected or regulated to prevent a tragic accident (or harm to others by pollution caused by business as usual), and not be held accountable after the fact. And for the rest of us, “freedom” is being free to cope with the harm to us and our loved ones the best we can with no assistance.

  • johninPCFL

    Odd. If we’re banning all the guns, why are gun sales at an all-time high? Seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?
    Oh, that’s right. Only in the far-right blogsphere are guns being banned.