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Latest Numbers Show 2018 Was A Strong Year For Firearms Production

[FILE] A gun show promoter displays a pistol at an expo in Caldwell, Idaho. A gun industry trade group says 2018 was a strong year for the industry, possibly driven by fear of looming gun control measures.
[FILE] A gun show promoter displays a pistol at an expo in Caldwell, Idaho. A gun industry trade group says 2018 was a strong year for the industry, possibly driven by fear of looming gun control measures.

Firearms manufacturers had a good year in 2018, according to a new report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF.) The industry’s main trade group says that’s in part because gun owners are concerned about increased gun regulation.

American producers pumped out nearly 7,660,772 firearms and roughly 8.1 billion rounds rounds of ammunition in 2018, according to data compiled by NSSF from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The report features preliminary numbers, which could rise as more manufacturers submit their final tallies.

More than 57% of the guns produced in 2018 were pistols or revolvers, according to the interim report, while the rest were rifles or shotguns. Manufacturers produced more than 2.8 million rifles in 2018, an increase of 193% since 1986, the first year for which the ATF makes data available.

The Politics Of Production

The increase in production numbers follow a downtick in demand in 2017 after the election of now-President Donald Trump.

In recent years, the firearms-friendly administration has been a bust for sales.

Trump, who made gun rights a cornerstone of his campaign, doesn’t drive gun sales the way then presidential-candidate Hilllary Clinton did in 2016 or former-President Barack Obama did in 2012 and 2013.

NSSF spokesman Mark Oliva says this year, consumers are responding to similar fear: the promises of increased gun control if a Democratic president takes control of the White House.

“When people see that, there’s a natural concern that they’re not going to be able to buy the firearms they want,” Oliva said.

As the candidates continue to debate guns on the campaign trail into 2020 — and more states consider gun control legislation — production could increase leading up to the November general election.

NSSF expects to update the 2018 report when final data becomes available.

is a public media reporting project on the role of guns in American life.

Copyright 2020 Guns and America. To see more, visit .

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