Guns for sale at a gun shop
Guns for sale at a gun shop / Stephen Gutowski

More Firearms Imported in 2020 Than Ever Before

More firearms were imported into the United States in 2020 than any other year on record.

That’s according to the ATF’s 2021 annual report on firearms commerce in the United States, which was released Monday. The report showed a massive surge in gun importation. The numbers climbed to over 6.8 million firearms in 2020, marking the highest level on record.

Firearm Imports by year
Firearm imports by year / ATF

The ATF’s Firearms Commerce Report is an annual compilation of statistics kept year over year in order to track changes in the gun industry.

“This report presents data drawn from a number of ATF reports and records in one comprehensive document,” the bureau said on its website. “It also provides comparative data from as far back as 1975 for context, analyses of trends over the years, and a fuller picture of the state of firearms commerce in the United States today.”

The report is notable in light of the record-breaking level of gun sales the country has seen in recent years, with reports of domestic firearm manufacturers struggling to increase output during the pandemic in order to meet the unprecedented surge in demand. Many of the most popular firearms on the civilian market–including Austrian-made Glocks–are produced by foreign companies, suggesting increased importation was necessary in order to meet the heightened consumer demand.

Handguns were the most commonly imported type of firearm in 2020, representing 59 percent of imports. Meanwhile, shotguns and rifles represented 28 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Turkey, Austria, and Brazil represented the three most prevalent sources of imported guns in 2020, respectively, with each country contributing more than a million total firearms.

2020 Imports by country
2020 Imports by country / ATF

Other notable findings from the ATF report indicated that the agency processed more than 500,000 National Firearms Act (NFA) applications in 2020, the highest level on record for a single year. NFA applications and ATF approval are required when attempting to make, transfer, or import an item regulated under the NFA, such as a short-barreled rifle or silencer.

NFA forms by fiscal year
NFA forms by fiscal year / ATF

The report found that Texas was by far the state with the highest total number of registered NFA weapons (1,006,555), followed by Florida (518,725), and Virginia (423,707), respectively.

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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