Manufacture of Firearms Up 300% Since 2000

ATF Releases Annual Firearms Manufacturers & Export Report
Manufacture of Firearms Up 300% Since 2000

WASHINGTON, D.C. -( According to a report released Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the number of guns manufactured has steadily increased over the past 20 years.

The report released Tuesday by the Bureau tracked the manufacture and importation of firearms since 1986. The manufacture of guns remained steady from 1986 to 2000. Each of these years showed that around three million firearms were produced. In the same period, the importation of firearms rose from 701,000 to 1,096,782.

After 2001, the gun industry saw an explosion in the manufacturing and importation of firearms.

In 2001 the industry manufactured 2,932,655 guns. That number rose to 11.3 million in 2020. The number fluctuates every year. The high point of gun manufacturing was in 2016 when 11,497,441 guns were produced.

Gun sales in 2016 exploded because of the presidential election. Americans snatched up firearms at a record rate. The betting odds were on Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump for the highest office in the land. Clinton made gun control one of the central pillars of her platform.

The manufacture of firearms dropped to 8,327,792 the following year. This drop in manufacturing was due to decreased sales. This drop in sales would become known as the “Trump Slump.” Gun owners viewed Donald Trump as a firewall against any new gun control measures, although Trump did direct the ATF to ban bump stocks.

The importation of guns steadily rose, but there wasn’t a noticeable bump due to the 2016 election. The importation of firearms is a lengthy process requiring the importer to supply samples to the ATF for approval. It is harder for an importer to ramp up the importation of firearms due to a political situation.

Another year that saw a jump in firearms manufacturing was 2013, when 10,844,792 guns were produced. The Sandy Hook Elementary School killings took in December of 2012. Then-President Barack Obama pushed Congress for a new “assault weapons” ban. Americans felt that there was a real chance that Congress would pass a ban. Gun rights activists were able to mass enough pressure to stop any prohibitions on firearms from passing in Congress.

The ATF also stated that manufacturers produced 11.3 million firearms in 2020. This year nearly set a record, only being surpassed by 2016. In the same year, eight million Americans purchased their first firearm. This growth was fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial tensions that saw many cities burned.

ATF Interim Director Gary M. Restaino wrote that the Bureau was releasing the information “prevent diversion of these firearms from the legal to the illegal market.” The United States deputy attorney general, Lisa O. Monaco, agreed with Mr. Restaino by saying, “We can only address the current rise in violence if we have the best available information and use the most effective tools and research to fuel our efforts.”

The paper did not give any criminal data. It was just data that exposed the size of the gun industry. Everytown for Gun Safety and other anti-gun organization have been asking for this information for years. The report will help them in their attacks against gun rights.

Currently, there are 400 million firearms in the country. This number keeps growing as the percentage of the public that rejects gun control expands.

About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at

John Crump