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U.S. firearm imports and exports, 1973-1987.

U. S. Firearm Imports and Exports, 1973--1987

In the fourteen-year period 1973-1986, U. S. manufacturers produced about 66.4 million firearms. In the same period U. S. firearm imports were 10.1 million and exports were 5.6 million. The result -- a net of almost 71 million firearms in U. S. commerce.

In the twelve years between 1973 and 1984, firearm imports ranged from 10 to 17 as a percent of U. S. annual firearm production. In 1985 and 1986 the percent figure rose sharply -- to 29 and 40 respectively. Although the U. S. manufacturers' production figures for 1987 are not yet available to serve as a base for calculating the 1987 percent, the firearm import figure (1.1 million guns) strongly indicates 1987's percent figure will be well above the earlier years' maximum of 17.

Just about everyone who has a serious interest in firearms -- users, manufacturers, importers, distributors and dealers -- has an opinion on the matter of firearm imports. This article was put together to provide the best in current information in a ready reference form. To provide essential perspective, some U. S. production and export figures in tables and graphs have been included.

([)Author's notes regarding the data and sources in this article: Although the imports figures cover the fifteen year inclusive period 1973-1987, the U. S. exports figures and the U. S. production figures cover a fourteen year period, 1973-1986. This situation comes about because the BATF is compelled by Federal Court Order to withhold from release for twelve months the most recent production and exportation figures which it obtains annually from U. S. manufacturers. All of the graphs and charts as well as text references in this article are clearly identified as to the period covered by the data and information. In one graph, (Sources of U. S. Firearm Imports, 1977 & 1988), where imports figures for the first nine months of 1988 are merged with figures for the full year 1987, an appropriate notation appears.

Although the Census Bureau reports do include dollar figures on Customs value and charges, I elected to deal only with the quantity of firearms imported because unit quantities are the universal database.

It may be that the figure understates the number of firearms exported to the U.S. by some countries. While the figure for the affected country will be off by only a small quantity, the possibility of such a discrepancy should be known to readers who use this article for research.

An understated total comes about when a country makes a shipment of a specific commodity that is less in value than the minimum required by regulations for listing by country in the report. Thus, while the country is not specifically `credited' with the quantity in the report, the quantity is included in an aggregate of all such items alongside the heading, "Other Country." The total quantity of these entries can be seen in the table, "U. S. Firearm Imports by Country of Origin, 1973-1987: Alphabetical," in the next to last row, "Other Countries." The fifteen-year total of 387,281 is less than four percent of the grand total of 11.3 million imported firearms.
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Author:Howe, Walter J.
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Mar 1, 1989
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