News ID: 321726
Published: 0635 GMT May 18, 2022

U.S. gun production triples since 2000: Justice Dept.

U.S. gun production triples since 2000: Justice Dept.

AR-15-style rifles on display in a Texas retail shop

U.S. firearms makers produced over 139 million guns for the commercial market over the two decades from 2000, including 11.3 million in 2020 alone, according to a new government report.

Another 71 million firearms were imported in the same period – compared to just 7.5 million exported – underscoring how the country is literally swimming in personal weapons that have stoked a surge in gun violence, murders and suicides, according to the Justice Department report, AFP reported.

The report shows that while Americans have made favorites of semi-automatic assault rifles seen in many mass shootings, they have bought en masse the increasingly cheap, easy-to-use and accurate semi-automatic 9mm pistols like those that most police now use.

And, the report shows, authorities face a surge in unregistered “ghost guns” made at home with parts that can be bought online and produced with a 3-D printer, and pistols and short-barreled rifles that are as powerful and lethal as the semi-automatic assault rifles used in mass shootings.

The report came out after a shocking weekend showed how the vast surplus of guns has made its mark on U.S. society.

In Buffalo, New York an 18-year-old white man, driven by racist hate, used an assault rifle to murder 10 African-Americans; in Laguna Woods, California a man shot five people in a church frequented by Taiwanese with a 9mm pistol; and in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, more than 20 people were wounded in shootings in one evening in the downtown entertainment district.

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of gun deaths in the United States underwent an "historic" increase in 2020.

The U.S. racked up 19,350 firearm homicides in 2020, up nearly 35 percent over 2019, and 24,245 gun suicides, up 1.5 percent.

The firearm homicide rate stood at 6.1 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020, the highest for more than 25 years.

The gun industry has rocketed in two decades. In 2000, there were 2,222 registered active manufacturers. By 2020, the number hit 16,963.

Annual commercial gun production likewise surged: 3.9 million in 2000, hitting 11.3 million 20 years later. But that was down from the peak of 11.9 million in 2016.

The new report was the first in a four-volume study of gun markets and illegal trafficking.





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