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ATF: Privately made firearms make it harder to reduce illegal access to guns

By Rich Klein
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Pistols were the dominant firearm type manufactured and imported into the US. from 2010 through 2020, according to a new report issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Photo by jasongillman/Pixabay
Pistols were the dominant firearm type manufactured and imported into the US. from 2010 through 2020, according to a new report issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Photo by jasongillman/Pixabay

May 20 (UPI) -- Increased output by gun manufacturers as well as privately made firearms drove an exponential increase in firearms available in the United States over the past two decades, according to a new study about firearms commerce produced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

One key finding in the report showed that, between 2000 and 2020, the number of firearms that were domestically manufactured, exported by U.S. manufacturers or imported into the United States increased by 187%, 240% and 350% respectively,

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Smith & Wesson Corp. and Sturm, Ruger & Company Inc. were identified in the report as the two leading manufacturers of licensed guns in the United States from 2016 through 2020, with each representing about 17% of the market. With the addition of Sig Sauer Inc., the third largest domestic manufacturer, the trio of companies represented 42% of all licensed firearms produced in the United States.

Acting ATF Director Gary Restaino said in the report's foreword that "one of the most significant developments affecting lawful firearm commerce and law enforcement's ability to reduce illegal access to guns in this period has been the proliferation of privately made firearms (PMFs). Since the early 2000s, advances in firearm manufacturing and design, combined with the readily online availability of parts and information necessary to assemble PMFs have made it easier for unlicensed persons to make a firearm at home without any records or a background check."

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The ATF revealed in its National Firearms Commerce and Trafficking Assessment that the number of suspected privately manufactured firearms recovered by law enforcement and subsequently traced by ATF increased 1,000% between 2016 and 2021.

The report, ordered by President Joe Biden in April 2021 to address the rise in violent crime, was released as America once again grappled with the impact of yet another mass shooting, this time in Buffalo, N.Y., where an 18-year-old went on a hate-filled rampage at a Tops food store, killing 10 Black people. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime. Suspect Payton Genndron, who was indicted on Wednesday, legally purchased a rifle that was used in the shooting.

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Among the report's findings was that, between 2010 and 2020, the pistol was the most dominant firearm type manufactured and imported into the United States. From 2000 to 2020, the manufacturing of short-barreled rifles increased by 24%.

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Earlier this month, a new study showed that U.S. regions with weak gun laws face the highest hospital costs from gun injuries, with the South leading the way in injuries and fees.

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