By Robert M. Hausman
ATF has released its Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Report for the year of 2007.
These latest available production figures break down as follows: a total of 1,216,479 pistols were manufactured and 391,334 revolvers were produced. A total of 1,476,004 rifles were made in the U.S. during 2007 along with 643,722 shotguns.
On the export side, some 45,023 pistols, along with 34,662 revolvers, 74,753 rifles and 26,998 shotguns were exported during 2007.
The largest pistol manufacturer during the year was Smith & Wesson with 256,988 produced in Massachusetts and 45,635 made in Maine for a grand total of 302,623. Other notable makes during the year included Sturm, Ruger with production of 141,917 pistols.
SIG-Sauer did 111,653 pistols during 2007, while Beretta USA made 87,631 and Kel-Tec produced an impressive total of 103,893. Beemiller, Inc., also made an impressive showing with 78,090 pistols, while Kimber made 55,722 and Cobra Enterprises manufactured 36,396. Kahr Arms produced 26,166 pistols and Colt made 17,833.
By caliber groupings, 2007’s pistol production figures break down as follows:
- up to .22 – 180,216
- up to .25 – 11,309
- up to .32 – 43,905
- up to .380 – 138,484
- up to 9mm – 390,380
- up to .50 – 452,185
On the revolver side, Smith & Wesson also led the way with production of 196,255 units. Sturm, Ruger was in second place with 96,598. Other significant revolver makers during the year were Heritage Manufacturing with 39,352 units, North American Arms with 31,893 and Charco 2000 (Charter Arms) with a total of 14,294 revolvers.
By caliber, 2007’s revolver production breaks down as follows:
- up to .22 – 91,963
- up to .32 – 3,509
- up to .357 – 93,320
- up to .38 – 104,498
- up to .44 – 46,719
- up to .50 – 51,325
In the rifle arena, Remington Arms Co. was the top producer with a production total of 283,588 units. In second place was Marlin with 227,855 rifles, followed by H&R 1871 with 97,390.
Other notable rifle producers were Henry Repeating Arms with 96,376, Bushmaster with 59,388 and DPMS with 58,674. Keystone Sporting Arms produced 47,438 rifles during 2007, Thompson/Center made 47,564, Smith & Wesson manufactured 24,676 and Century Arms made 24,185. Other makers included Beemiller with 19,200, Colt with 11,138 and Barrett with 4,479 rifles.
Counted as a whole, Mossberg produced the greatest number of shotguns during 2007 with 250,211 in its Connecticut factory and 66,831 made under the Maverick label in Texas. Remington produced 238,245 shotguns while H&R 1871 made 73,145 and Sturm, Ruger did 2,479.
The top pistol exporter during 2007 was Smith & Wesson with 22,288 units. Others included SIG Sauer, Inc. with 5,680 units, STI Intl. with 3,419 and Sturm, Ruger with export of 2,868.
Smith & Wesson was the most significant revolver exporter during 2007 with 30,220 units. Sturm, Ruger exported 3,015 units. The top two rifle exporters were Sturm, Ruger with 21,611 and Marlin with 20,672 units.
In shotgun exports, Mossberg was the leader with 18,678. H&R 1871 was in second place with 4,348.
Obama’s Gun Ban Plans Confirmed
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed Americans’ worst fears in late February when he revealed that the Obama Administration would press for a range of national gun control measures – foremost being the reenactment of the federal ban on so-called “assault weapons” and making the law permanent.
“It’s something, as I said, that the president talked about during the campaign. It is something, however, that we still think would be an appropriate thing to do,” Holder said during an interview.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who controls the House agenda, tried to back away from the issue. The Speaker gave a flat “no” when asked if she had talked to administration officials about the ban.
“On that score, I think we need to enforce the laws we have right now,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. “I think it’s clear the Bush administration didn’t do that.”
In response, the National Rifle Association said it would fight the ban. “We’re going to score the vote,” said Chris W. Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist. “President Obama spent tens of millions of dollars campaigning as a pro-Second Amendment candidate. So maybe he thinks he has enough political capital to do this. But I’m sure there are some Democrats at the White House and Capitol Hill who are cringing right now.”
Form 4473 Shortage
The Attorney General’s remarks caused a spike in gun sales which further exacerbated the critical shortage of ATF Form 4473. The ATF has issued a follow up to the January 6, 2009, Notice to All Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) regarding ATF Form 4473 availability. The January 6th notice provided authorization to FFLs to copy the ATF Forms 4473 for a limited time due to delays in the form’s printing and shipping.
Now, due to the limited supply of booklet-form canary yellow paper, the ATF Form 4473 will be distributed on white booklet-form paper. FFLs may continue to photocopy the Form 4473 in its entirety (including instructions) until they receive any backorders from the Distribution Center.
Additionally, due to the limited availability of the newly revised ATF Form 4473 Part I – Firearms Transaction Record Part I-Over-the-Counter (5300.9) (2008 Spanish Version), FFLs may photocopy this form as necessary.
The licensee must ensure that any photocopies are of good quality and obtain all of the required information on the printed forms. All completed forms must be maintained in accordance with the provisions of 27 CFR Part 478.129. All 6 pages of the form, including the instructions, must be stapled and maintained together. Licensees may contact their local field division’s industry operations offices for further information.
Firearms Sales Remain Strong
Firearm purchaser background checks, an indicator of actual sales, were up 24% at 1.5 million in December 2008 from the year earlier figure of 1.2 million, according to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
November 2008 saw a 42% rise in NICS checks, the highest number of checks in the NICS system’s history. Some 12.7 million background checks were reported in 2008, a 14% increase from 2007.
A recent survey of gun owners by Southwick Associates found that 80% of respondents expected they would face challenges in purchasing firearms under the Obama Administration and the new Congress, which is dominated by Democrats.
AccuSport Offers Exclusive Retailer Software
After 40-plus years of filling out Form 4473 by hand, new high-tech EZ 4473 form filling software debuts as an exclusive offering by AcuSport Corp., the noted firearms wholesaler.
The use of the new software is in line with a recent ATF directive allowing the use of such software as an alternative to manually writing out the form by hand with ink. During the 2008 SHOT Show, a Las Vegas retailer was demonstrating the software in the AcuSport booth, before ATF had allowed such software’s use.
The form-filling software is said to guarantee complete and legible information is being obtained from gun buyers and it validates their age and residency. Transactions are not allowed to proceed with an improper “Yes” or “No” answer. Once the process is completed, the software prints the completed ATF Form 4473.
EZ-4473 aids retailers by helping to eliminate clerical errors and the risk of selling to an unqualified customer. Additionally, the software can streamline an ATF audit since records can be instantly searched by last name, date of sale, transaction number, serial number, etc. The software program digitally stores the form and customer information, which are protected by a powerful encryption program.
Jim Broering, AcuSport’s president, said, “This software eliminates any possibility of clerical mistakes that can result in a revoked federal firearms license. This software is extremely innovative and will surely benefit many entities in the firearms industry.”
ATF Considering Form Changes
The Bureau of ATF is considering making some unspecified changes to two of its forms according to a posting in The Federal Register.
The first involves ATF Form 5330.20 intended to prevent nonimmigrant aliens from purchasing firearms or ammunition. The other change involves ATF Form 5300.3A the out-of-business records request for entities ceasing operations. No further information on the proposed changes was available at press time.
Blackwater to Change Name
Blackwater Worldwide, the private security and training company whose work in Iraq was heavily criticized for the tendency of its operators to engage in firefights, is changing its name in hopes of developing a new image. The company is changing its name to “Xe” as it shifts its business focus.
Anne Tyrrell, a spokeswoman for the company, said it was changing its name because, “the idea is to define the company as what it is today and not what it used to be.” Tyrrell said there is no meaning to the new name, which is pronounced “zee.” Xe is also the chemical symbol for the element xenon.
The company made headlines in September 2007, during a chaotic confrontation in downtown Baghdad, when Blackwater contractors allegedly shot and killed 17 Iraqis in a crowded square. That incident led to congressional inquiries. Blackwater also had inked an agreement to serve as the training center for Heckler & Koch firearms, but that was rescinded after concerns were raised by the German government.
The company’s name – Blackwater – was inspired by the dark, brackish water on its expansive tract of land in North Carolina, near the Great Dismal Swamp.
Tyrrell said the Blackwater name is being shed from all business units. Blackwater Airships, which offers surveillance services for intelligence gathering, becomes Guardian Flight Systems.
Blackwater Target Systems, the unit that develops and builds targets, is now known as GSD Manufacturing. The most well-known part of the business, Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, will now be called U.S. Training Center.
RJ Hillhouse, a national security expert and author of the blog called The Spy Who Billed Me, said the company is “obviously trying to distance itself from their image as reckless cowboys that’s etched into the world’s mind from the September shooting. With a new name, there are a lot of people who probably won’t connect the dots. In a year or two, people won’t remember that’s Blackwater.”
ATF Offers State Laws Publication in Digital Format
ATF has announced that its widely-read publication, 2007, 28th Edition, State Laws and Published Ordinances-Firearms (ATF P 5300.5) is now available in digital form on CD-ROM.
Presented in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format, the publication appears as it would in print and the software allows reprinting by personal computer. The electronic format will make searching and identifying information easier.
The publication is designed to help federal firearms licensees comply with federal and state firearms laws by listing all state firearms laws on a state-by-state basis. The publication assists licensees in complying with the Gun Control Act of 1968 which prohibits licensees from selling or delivering a firearm to a non-licensee whose receipt or possession of the firearm would violate state or local laws applicable at the place of sale or delivery.
Further by checking this publication, licensees can ensure they are making lawful over-the-counter sales of long guns to out-of-state residents. Such transactions must meet the legal requirements of both the licensee’s and the purchaser’s state of residence. Copies of the CD-ROM will be mailed to all licensees. The paper version of the book is still available.
The author publishes two of the small arms industry’s most widely read trade newsletters. The International Firearms Trade covers the world firearms scene, and The New Firearms Business covers the domestic market. Visit www.FirearmsGroup.com. He may be reached at: FirearmsB@aol.com.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V12N9 (June 2009)|