Gun Sales Rise as Crime, Accident Rates Fall

U.S. Statistics Source Last Year* Trend
 Firearm & Ammunition Sales U.S. Dept. of the Treasury Up 2.6% to
$2.1 billion
Up 27.7%
since 1998
 Firearms Produced for
Retail Sale
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) 2,947,008 22.8 million total
since 1998
 Firearms Imported for
Retail Sale
U.S. Census Bureau 1,845,366 10.7 million total
since 1998
 Right to Carry Laws National Rifle Association (NRA) Passed in
2 more states
Now in 40 states; 9 added since 1998
 Firearm Crimes Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Down 2.4% to 339,280 Down 7%
since 1998
 Firearm Suicides Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Down 1.1% to 16,907 Down 1.8%
since 1998
 Accidental Firearm Fatalities National Safety Council Tied previous year’s all-time low of 700 Down 19.2%
since 1998
 Accidental Firearm Fatalities, Age 14 & Under National Safety Council Down to all-time
low of 60
Down 50.4%
since 1998

* Most recent year for which statistics have been compiled;
may be 2005, 2004 or earlier

SALES UP 2.6%, WHILE GUN CRIMES DOWN 2.4%. . . New statistics show that firearm and ammunition sales are on the rise, coinciding with steady downward trends in gun crime, suicide and accident rates in the U.S. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has released U.S. Dept. of the Treasury figures indicating that 2005 retail sales of firearms and ammunition rose 2.6 percent for a total volume of $2.1 billion.
       For the year, approximately 4.7 million new guns were sold, bringing the estimated number of citizen-owned firearms in the U.S. to more than 290 million. The number of American households with at least one firearm is now estimated at nearly 110 million.
      Of the various firearm types, the sharpest gains were seen in retail sales of handguns (pistols and revolvers). Handgun sales rose 3 percent while long-gun (rifle and shotgun) sales rose 1.8 percent. Ammunition sales rose 3.5 percent.
     Combined 2005 sales of firearms and ammunition generated $224.3 million in excise taxes earmarked for wildlife and habitat conservation projects, through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act. Since inception, the act has raised more than $5 billion for conservation.
     As NSSF-member companies and conservationists laud the latest sales numbers, their applause coincides with more good news about American society in general. According to figures from government and independent sources, firearm crimes, suicides and accidental fatalities, including accidents among youth, are all trending downward.

  • EX-ATF OFFICIAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST MAYOR'S ACTIONS . . . In an op-ed featured in today's New York Sun, former ATF deputy assistant director Wally Nelson called New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's recent actions "an embarrassment." Nelson speaks out about Bloomberg's headline-grabbing "sting" operations, his negative comments aimed at ATF and the mayor's lawsuits against gun dealers that have potentially jeopardized more than a dozen ongoing investigations. Read Nelson's complete op-ed

  • BLOOMBERG TO INTRODUCE CITY GUN BILLS NEXT WEEK . . . Mayor Bloomberg announced today a package of bills he plans to introduce to the New York City Council next week. The proposals include an inventory bill for gun dealers, a one handgun every-three-month limit, a ban on gun coloration kits and a gun offender registration act. Read the mayor's press release

  • POLICE ORGANIZATION SUPPORTS TRACE DATA PROVISION . . . The Fraternal Order of Police expressed its strong support of including language in a Congressional bill that would prohibit disclosure of firearms trace data to non-law enforcement. In a letter dated Friday, FOP president Chuck Canterbury wrote, "The FOP has supported this language since the original version was first enacted several years ago because of our concern for the safety of law enforcement officers and the integrity of law enforcement investigations." Read Canterbury's full letter to the Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice and Commerce and Related Agencies. 

  • ESPN NETWORKS TO AIR SHOOTING COMPETITIONS . . . ESPN2 and ESPNU will televise two NSSF-sponsored shooting competitions in June, exposing the networks' millions of viewers to the action and excitement of the shooting sports. Throughout the month, ESPNU will air the 2006 Association of College Unions International Collegiate Clay Target Championships. It's the first time the college championship has been aired in its 38-year history. Also in June, ESPN2 will air Hot Shots!, an adrenaline-fueled, head-to-head competition featuring the nation's best shotgun shooters and archers. See air dates and times.

  • POSITIVE SHOOTING COVERAGE IN CHICAGO TRIBUNE . . . "No animals were harmed in the course of the recent National Classic Shotgun Festival on the 640-acre grounds of the Northbrook Sports Club in north suburban Hainesville. But the clay took a beating," writes Chicago Tribune reporter Patrick Kampert. The newspaper featured a positive feature on competitive shooting in Sunday's edition

  • NEW RUGER BOARD MEMBERS . . . Sturm Ruger's board of directors has been expanded to eight, with three new appointees recently announced. Additions to the board, effective June 1, are Ronald Whitaker, former president and CEO of Colt's Manufacturing Co.; C. Michael Jacobi, former president and CEO of Katy Industries and Timex Corporation; and Stephen Merkel, chairman and CEO of Watco International Holdings and former executive with Loctite.

  • GANDER MOUNTAIN REPORTS FIRST QUARTER RESULTS . . . Outdoor retailer Gander Mountain Co. reported Wednesday sales increased to $155.6 million in the first quarter, a 15 percent increase over the same period last year. For the quarter, the company reported a net loss of $23 million, or $1.61 per share, compared to $17.6 million, or $1.23 per share, last year. Comparable store sales decreased 10.4 percent. The company also announced last week it will open five new stores this fall in Lake Mary, Fla.; Charleston, W.Va.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Huntsville, Ala.; and Winchester, Va. Gander Mountain is traded on the NASDAQ National Market under the ticker symbol GMTN.

  • SOUTH CAROLINA VETO OVERRIDDEN TO FORM SPORTSMEN’S CAUCUS . . . A veto by Gov. Mark Sanford was easily overridden by both houses of the South Carolina General Assembly, thus passing a law to create a sportsmen’s legislative caucus. The House voted 105-3 and the Senate 30-6. “With the formation of the South Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, hunters and anglers should know that they have identified allies in the state capitol united in advancing a pro-sportsmen’s agenda as well as serving as the first line of defense in protecting the state’s outdoor traditions,” said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. South Carolina becomes the 29th state to establish a sportsmen’s caucus. Gov. Sanford had vetoed the bill, which allows legislators to set up special-interest caucuses, because he believed it would open the door to public corruption.

  • DEADBEAT PARENTS LOSE TENNESSEE HUNTING PRIVILEGES . . . For the past two licensing seasons, Tennessee’s Department of Human Services and its Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) have teamed to revoke the hunting and fishing licenses of people who aren’t making their monthly child-support payments, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “By our best estimate, more than 70 percent of the people who have had their privileges revoked have paid up and gotten them back,” said Carol Freeman, TWRA’s chief of information technology. “That tells you they don’t like living without those privileges.” Last year, 570 had their licenses revoked. Brasher reports that Arkansas and Mississippi have similar programs.

  • MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR SIGNS & SHOOTS IN SUPPORT OF SPORTSMEN . . . Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour signed three pro-sportsmen bills into law, then celebrated his state’s heritage with state legislators by shooting a round of sporting clays. After signing no-net-loss of public hunting lands protection, an Internet hunting ban and creation of an apprentice hunting program, all bills introduced and supported by the Mississippi Sportsmen’s Caucus, the governor said, “Mississippians love the outdoors, and we want our children and grandchildren to have the opportunity to hunt, fish, boat and come to love the outdoors just as we have.”

  • HUNTERS WANT MORE IF THE STATE GETS MORE . . . Responding to a proposed increase of nearly 50 percent in hunting and fishing license fees -- from $12.50 to $18 -- some hunters are demanding more from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF). One third of the comments the department has gotten say no problem to the increase -- if there are more opportunities to hunt, reported WSLS NewsChannel 10. One hunter said, "If you are going to raise the fees, why not allow hunting on Sunday?" Forty-three states do allow Sunday hunting, but the DGIF says a 2000 survey found that 52 percent of Virginia hunters were actually against hunting on Sundays. If approved, the fee increase would take effect on July 1. After that, says David Meadows, DGIF director, a new survey on Sunday hunting can be up for debate.

  • BALTIMORE PROSECUTING MORE GUN CASES . . . After an analysis of the first four months of Baltimore's Project Exile program, federal authorities in the city say they will prosecute at least one-third more gun cases than last year if the current trend continues, reports the Baltimore Sun. Under Project Exile, federal prosecutors are taking more gun cases and using the threat of federal indictment to persuade other defendants into pleading guilty in state court. 

  • 'A SHOT IN THE DARK' . . . A gun buyback program announced by Boston officials last week is aimed at reducing street violence, but not everyone -- including residents of the city's roughest neighborhoods -- believes it will do much, writes Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi. The program will give $200 Target gift cards to people who turn over guns to police. "I wanted to believe," Vennochi writes. "But as I scrawled notes during Tuesday's press conference at First Parish Church in Dorchester, a man standing nearby offered up this review: 'Good concept. It won't work.' He declined to give his name, but said he did youth outreach work in the community. He doubted that many young people he knew would walk into a police station to turn in weapons."

  • TORIES REBUFF GUN REGISTRY SUPPORTERS . . . Canada’s Conservative government, standing by its campaign promise to end that country’s long-gun registry, rebuffed the appeal of factions from Quebec that asked to reverse course and maintain the federal program. The program, reports the National Post, has been plagued by cost overruns, and critics, who have called it a billion-dollar boondoggle, say its computerized files are riddled with errors. Despite the protest by women’s groups, anti-gun advocates and a representative of the Montreal police, Michael Fortier, public works minister, says Quebecers in general support the decision to end the long-gun registry.

  • ANOTHER CALL FOR PENNSYLVANIA RANGE SUPPORT . . . Once again, the Jackson Township, Pa., supervisors will conduct a public meeting regarding permitting the creation of an indoor shooting range that local business owners wish to develop. Open year-round, the range would provide instruction and practice in a safe, quiet and controlled indoor environment, but opponents have saturated the community with false claims. Support for the range can be demonstrated by attending the meeting on Tuesday, June 6, at 5:30 p.m. at the municipal building in Zelienople, or by contacting the supervisors at 724-452-5581 or –5582.

  • PIATT CAPTURES BIANCHI CUP . . . Separating Doug Koenig from the NRA Bianchi Cup, which he had taken title to nine times, including the last seven years, Bruce Piatt, a police officer from Montvale, N.J., won the NRA’s 2006 National Action Pistol Shooting Championship, which took place May 24-27, at the Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club in Columbia, Mo. Piatt, saying he was tired of playing second fiddle, took the lead away from Koenig in the last of four matches that make up the tournament aggregate, winning that match with a perfect 480-point score and 40 tie-breaking hits. His overall winning score was 1920-177X, edging out Koenig’s 1920-174X. Californian Vera Koo posted an 1897-143X aggregate in the women’s competition to win her seventh overall and sixth consecutive championship.

  • WOMEN SHOOTERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT . . . In Wednesday's "Life" section, the Houston Chronicle featured a story on the growth of women in the shooting sports over the years. "Thirty years ago, I was lucky if there was a ladies room and if it was clean. Now when you go to a gun club, you are more apt to have to stand in line," says Sue King, a longtime shooter and one of 11 women board members of the NRA.

  • ANNUAL TURKEY SHOOT TO DRAW 1,000-PLUS . . . More than 1,000 visitors, including some of the top sporting clays shooters in the country, are expected for the 13th annual National Wild Turkey Federation Turkey Shoot at The Meadows National Gun Club in Forsyth, Ga., August 18-20. Shooters will compete for $100,000 in cash and prizes. Proceeds will benefit Wheelin' Sportsmen NWTF, which provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy hunting, fishing and shooting. NSSF is among a long list of event sponsors. For more information, click here or call (800) THE-NWTF.

  • MUZZLE LOADERS TO GATHER FOR SPRING SHOOT . . . The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association will host its annual nine-day lineup of national championship shooting events at its Friendship, Ind., headquarters from Saturday, June 10, through Sunday, June 18. In addition to adult and youth shooting competitions, a variety of historical demonstrations will take place.

  • QDMA SECURES $50,000 GRANT FOR DEER RESEARCH . . . A cooperative ongoing study of deer and deer hunting in Pennsylvania has received promise of additional funding with the announcement by the Quality Deer Management Association of a $50,000 grant secured from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. The grant is for the expansion of the study begun in January and scheduled to continue through 2008 that is being conducted by the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Penn State University and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The grant is a 50-50 match of federally appropriated funds and money raised through QDMA-sponsor Budweiser and its “Help Budweiser Help the Outdoors” program. Study data will help deer managers understand how deer react to hunting pressure and how hunters utilize public hunting lands.

  • NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR PETITIONS FOR WILDERNESS PROTECTION . . . New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson filed a petition for complete protection of 1.7 million acres of New Mexico wilderness -- 1.6 million acres of roadless national forests in New Mexico, as well as 100,000 acres at the Valle Vidal. “Our roadless wilderness areas are truly cherished by the people of New Mexico as well as people who come here to fish and hunt,” Richardson said. A federal advisory committee appointed by the Bush administration will now review the petition and make recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture, who will decide whether to initiate a federal rulemaking process. At the end of that process, the administration may enact, modify or reject the petition entirely.

NSSF's Mission Statement

"Our purpose is to provide trusted leadership in addressing industry challenges and in delivering programs and services to meet the identified needs of our members."

Click here to visit the NSSF Web site and see how we accomplish this mission.

COPYRIGHT © 2006 by National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. Permission is granted for broadcast, publication, retransmission to e-mail lists, Web sites or any other copying or storage, in any medium, online or not, if 1) the text is forwarded in its entirety, including this paragraph, and 2) no fee is charged.