The number of private firearms in the United States continues to soar. According to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (ATF) figures just released, the number of firearms added to the private stock in 2015 was 12,945,416.
That total lags a bit more than a year because the ATF is legislatively bound to hold the numbers for at least that long before releasing them. This protects the various companies’ proprietary rights and possible competitive advantages that come with the numbers.
The 2015 numbers bring the total number of private firearms in the United States to 388.5 million, almost the total I predicted a year ago. From Gun Watch, 1 September, 2015:
At the end of 2015, the stock should be at 388+ million firearms. Given the current trend, another 12 million or more firearms will be added in 2016, bringing the total stock to 400 million+ firearms by the end of the Obama presidency.
At the end of 2008 and the beginning of the Obama presidency, there were about 308 million private firearms in the United States. After eight years of President Obama in the highest executive position, I predict that there will be over 400 million.
In 2016, there were 27,538,673 NICS checks performed. That conservatively translates into another 15.6 million firearms added to the private stock in the United States.
NICS checks are done for reasons other than firearm purchases. NICS performs a check when people buy firearms from federally licensed dealers in the United States. The system is also used to perform background checks on people applying for firearm carry permits in those states where such permits are required or offered by law.
There’s also the fact that one check is performed when purchasing multiple firearms. So while the number of NICS checks isn’t a perfect measure of the number of firearms sold, a good rule of thumb is that the average number of private firearms added to the US stock is typically about .6 firearms per NICS check.
So “Trump slump” or no, Americans’ demand for for firearms shows no sign of significantly reducing any time soon.
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