America’s Gun Economy, By the Numbers

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The shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed six adults and 20 children on Friday has once again refocused the nation’s attention on guns and gun control. Below are numbers to give some sense of the size and scope of the gun industry in America, the federal government’s involvement in regulating that industry, and the political and economic factors that are likely to drive the debate in the weeks and months ahead.

The Gun Economy
47% Percentage of Americans who say they have a gun in their home or elsewhere on their property, according to Gallup, the highest reported number in two decades

$6 billion Estimated revenue generated by the gun and ammunition industry in the U.S., according to an analysis by business research firm Hoovers

310 million Estimated number of firearms in the U.S., according to the federal government, which includes 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles, and 86 million shotguns

209,750 Number of jobs related to the firearm industry in 2012, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which estimates that $9.8 billion in annual wages are earned annually

30% Percentage increase in employment in the industry between 2008 and 2011, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation

131,806 Number of federally licensed firearms and ammunition dealers in the U.S., about four times as many the number of grocery stores, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

5,459,240 Number of new firearms manufactured in the U.S. in 2011, 95% of which are sold domestically, according to the ATF

3,252,404 Number of firearms imported into the U.S. (529,056 shotguns, 998,072 rifles, and 1,725,276 handguns) in 2010, according to the ATF

846,619 Number of firearms imported into the U.S. in 2011 from Brazil, the leading gun importer to the U.S., according to the ATF

$29,818,880 Market value lost by gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson after its stock price decreased by 5.2% on Monday, December 17, amid what the Los Angeles Times called “a surge in discussion about gun control” after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

$1,197 to $1,391 Suggested retail price for the Bushmaster .223 caliber M4 carbine, the rifle used by Adam Lanza in the Newtown school shooting, according to Reuters

Background Checks
16,808,538 Number of background checks on firearm purchasers conducted by the FBI this year through November, an all-time record

78,211 Number of firearm purchase denials by the FBI in 2011, about 0.48% of all attempted purchases

899,099 Number of firearm purchases that have been denied by the FBI between November 30, 1998 (when the FBI began processing background checks) and December 31, 2011. Of those, 7,879 were denied because of issues relating to the would-be purchaser’s mental health

62% Percentage of private gun sellers who agreed to sell a firearm to a buyer who couldn’t pass a background check, according to an undercover investigation by New York City public officials

154,873 Number of point-of-sale background checks conducted by the FBI on Black Friday this year, the most ever and a 20% increase from Black Friday 2011

2,006,919 Number of background checks performed in November, according to the FBI, an all-time record

$5.1 billion Estimated federal and state taxes (business and excise) generated by the industry in 2012, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation

$136 million Revenue for firearm manufacturer Smith & Wesson in the second quarter, which increased by 48% (from $92 million) from the previous quarter; profits at Smith & Wesson have risen by 140% since President Barack Obama’s election in 2008, according to Forbes, a trend that’s been widely interpreted as anticipation of possible gun control legislation from the White House.

17-to-1 Ratio of gun-rights lobbyist spending to gun control lobbyist spending in 2011, according to and an analysis by Republic Report. Gun rights groups spent $4,212,996; gun control groups spent $240,000.

$14 million Amount of money the National Rifle Association spent during the 2012 election in an attempt to defeat President Obama, according to The New York Times

47,856 Number of people who have been killed in the U.S. by firearms between 2006 and 2010, according to the FBI