The Globe and Mail, May 2022
The U.S. has seen a rapid acceleration in the production of firearms over the past two decades and there is little sign demand is abating. Recently released statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) show that U.S. gun manufacturers made 3,400 firearms for every 100,000 Americans in 2020, up sharply from 1,800 in 2010. Gun production grew at a slower pace in the previous decade: In 2000, 1,400 firearms were created for every 100,000 Americans.
“Most people understand that guns are prolific in the United States and that regulating them is very challenging,” said Christopher Rea, a politics professor at Ohio State University. “But I don’t think they understand the unprecedented acceleration of the sale of firearms and firearms-related equipment in the last 20 years, which really puts us in a new era.”
Although the overall sales and ownership of firearms in the United States are not tracked by any government agency, several metrics illustrate the surging demand. The ATF says four million handguns were imported into the United States in 2020 compared with 1.8 million in 2010 and 750,000 in 2000.