ATF 2018: Firearms Commerce In The United States

by Pete

Each year the Bureau Of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) publishes the past year’s statistics on firearms commerce in the United States. Buried in the dozen or so pages is a unique look at the making, transfer and importation on all types of firearms. Most notable are those regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA).

The year 2017 marked the first real decrease in applications to make an NFA weapon via the ATF 5320.1 (Form 1). Although Form 1 applications can be used to make silencers, the majority of NFA makers take aim at Short Barreled Rifles (SBR) and to a lesser extent Short Barreled Shotguns (SBS). With the advances in the development of Pistol Stabilizing Braces (PSB), the nearly 20% drop in Form 1 applications could be do in part to consumers being unwilling to pay a $200 tax and wait six or more months to reduce their barrel length by a few inches. A gentle reminder, although the ATF has said its ok to shoulder a brace, the primary use is still as stabilizer for pistols. Semantics, maybe, but under the law a distinction should be made. And adding a vertical fore grip (VFG) to a pistol can alter its legality once more.

Manufactured NFA items also saw a marked drop in 2017 from the previous year. This could be the remains of the fallout from ATF 41F which imposed new rules on NFA transactions. Prior to the rule change, the market saw a glut of buying and transfers. Afterwards, the retail market dried up and along with it the need for manufacturers to resupply. Of course the political landscape changed in that time frame as well.

A snapshot of some of the data and the rest of the statistics can be found at the link below.

ATF 2018: Firearms Commerce In The United States

Thanks to IKH for the tip.


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