Sunday, September 03, 2017

More than 400 Million Private Firearms in the United States

The number of private firearms in the United States continues to soar. According to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (ATF) numbers released in September, 2017, the number of firearms added to the private stock in 2015 was 12,945,416. That number lags a bit more than a year behind because the ATF is legislatively bound to hold the numbers for at least a year 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 private firearms in the United States to 388.5 million, rounded to 389 million.  A year ago, I predicted that the number for  the end of 2015 would be 388+ million firearms. 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. That conservatively translates into another 15.6 million firearms added to the private stock in the United States.


The trend in National Instant Check System (NICS) is for more checks to be done for things other than firearms. The average number of private firearms added to the United States stock is about .6 firearms per NICS check.

NICS performs a check when people buy firearms from federally licensed dealers in the United States.  It 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 are now over 16 million carry permits in the United States. Firearm sales numbers are in the 10 to 20 million range per year. The number of NICS checks is not a perfect fit for the number of firearms sold. Tennessee runs a NICS check on every carry permit holder in the state every year. That kind of usage helps to explain the ratio of NICS to private firearms increases.

One check can be used to purchase multiple firearms, and most people with carry permits are not required to have an instant check performed when they purchase a firearm.  They had it done when they obtained their permit.

2013 was an anomalous year, likely because of the strong push for restrictive gun legislation by the Obama administration. In 2013, there were .76 firearms added for each NICS check. The trend went back to "normal" in 2014, with .58 firearms added per NICS check, and dropped a little in 2015, with .55 firearms added per NICS Check.

I estimated 2016 using .566 firearms added for each NICS check.  That figure gives us 15.6 million firearms added in 2016, for a total of over 404 million firearms in the U.S. private stock at the end of the Obama presidency.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

Those are impressive numbers, but I think the numbers are much higher because there are many guns not included in those numbers. any numbers on private stock of ammunition? I have about 8,000 primers in stock and close to 20 sets of reloading dies in as many calibers. it does not require as many bullet molds if you have the seizer dies and a full set of shell holders and five presses.

Wendy Weinbaum said...

DACA is DemoCACA! How about TACO: Trump's Action for Child Outsiders?

Anonymous said...

I believe that the actual number of firearms in private hands in the U.S. is north of 600 million. All of the war trophies, home built firearms, hand-me downs and those never on the books so to speak, plus those actually counted through data.