FFL and Gunsmith Stats

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Federal Firearms License Stats
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, there were 2,653 special agents who served as personnel in 2020. Special agents are described by the ATF as “highly trained, elite law enforcement officers who investigate violations of federal laws and regulations related to the criminal misuse of firearms. They’re sworn law enforcement officers authorized to make arrests for federal offenses in the U.S. and remain involved throughout each stage of a criminal investigation. From the initial moment an FFL is found to be in violation of ATF compliance to the moment they’re convicted or acquitted, a special agent is present.

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Industry Operations Investigators work directly with FFLs to ensure they’re in compliance with current firearms regulations, both on the federal and state level. In 2020, there were a total of 760 IOIs that worked on ATF compliance inspection cases, traveling frequently to inspect business locations all over the country. Possessing a detailed knowledge of regulations, it’s their job to examine FFL’s records to make sure there’s no falsification of records or any activity linked to the criminal trafficking of firearms. There were significantly less IOIs than special agents in 2020, but it was still a sizable number.

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There were a total of 130,525 active licensees in 2020 with 52,795 dealers, 7,114 pawnbrokers, 52,729 collectors, 1,807 ammunition manufacturers, 14,126 firearms manufacturers, 1,136 importers, 127 Destructive Devices dealers, 422 Destructive Devices manufacturers, and 269 Destructive Devices importers. Dealers and collectors account for the largest percentage of FFLs at more than 80% between them, manufacturers of firearms are 10.8%, pawnbrokers at 5.5%.


In 2020, there were 8,025 total cases recommended for prosecution. Each case remains open for about four years so this was the total number regardless of their stage in the judicial process. The included 6,934 indicted cases, 5,181 convicted cases, and 1,639 criminal group and gang cases. Of the cases recommended for prosecution in prior years and the 2020 fiscal year, the ATF closed 6,251 of them.


In these cases, 10,012 total defendants were recommended for prosecution. 70,439 people in these 8,025 cases had prior arrests and 18,192 had prior convictions. So, based on ATF numbers, there’s a definite pattern where most defendants recommended for prosecution had prior criminal histories. Of the more than 10,000 defendants included in this data, there were more than 70,000 prior arrests and over 18,000 prior convictions between them. This averages out to 7 previous arrests and 1.8 prior convictions per defendant recommended for prosecution. So for most people, getting caught not adhering to ATF compliance isn’t an isolated incident in terms of getting into legal trouble. The average person has already been arrested 7 times and convicted nearly twice. Of those recommended for prosecution, most ended up being convicted at nearly 72%, which shows the majority of defendants are ultimately found guilty. However, only a small number received a life sentence at 0.0003% and 0.002% received a death sentence.
In 2020, the ATF performed 5,827 firearm compliance inspections. Based on the 130,525 active FFLs in America that year, only 4.5% were inspected. Of those, there were no violations in 3,277 (56.2%) inspections. Report of violations happened in 1,289 (22.1%) of the inspections with 804 (13.8%) receiving warning letters and 306 (5.3%) warning conferences. A license was surrendered in 96 (1.6%) of the inspections. This indicates that of the 41.2% of FFLs who weren’t fully compliant with firearms laws and regulations, the offense wasn’t severe enough to demand a serious action like surrendering their license, having it revoked/denied, or going out of business. Only a tiny percentage of FFLs encountered that level of reprimanding, with 1.6% having to surrender their license/go out of business and 0.7% having it revoked/denied.


Finally, the ATF conducted a total of 10,525 firearms applications inspections. Of those, 8,385 (79.6%) were approved and 237 (2.3%) were denied. The rest of the 1,903 (22.6%) applications were either abandoned or withdrawn. This shows that nearly 4 out of every 5 firearms applications that are inspected are ultimately approved and only a fraction are denied.

President Joe Biden’s Guns

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The guns used to protect the President.

Short, snarky version:

2022 “Black Friday” NICS Stats

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Report by NSSF: The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS) completed 711,372 background checks for the purchase of a firearm at retail during the week leading up to and including Black Friday. FBI’s NICS recorded 192,749 background checks on Black Friday alone, ranking it third in the Top 10 Highest Days for NICS checks and a 2.8 percent increase from Black Friday 2021, when 187,585 background checks were completed. The NICS checks are unadjusted, representing raw data from the FBI and are inclusive of all background checks related to firearms.

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“Background checks for firearm purchases were already trending to make 2022 the third strongest year on record, coming off of the outsized years of 2020 and 2021,” explained Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO. “These figures tell us that there is a continued strong appetite for lawful firearm ownership by law-abiding Americans and that firearm manufacturers across the country continue to deliver the quality firearms our customers have come to expect.”

Annual background check data indicated that firearm sales will typically rise during the final month of the year coinciding with hunting seasons and holiday sales.

NICS check totals for the week:

Saturday, Nov. 20, 2022: 102,376

Sunday, Nov. 21, 2022: 57,665

Monday, Nov. 22, 2022: 103,543

Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2022: 109,895

Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2022: 116,033

Thursday, Nov. 25, 2022: 29,111

Friday, Nov. 26, 2022: 192,749

American Gun Owner Survey Results

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Georgetown University conducted a large survey of 54,000 adults. Learn the true nature of American Gun Owners today.

An online survey conducted by Centiment was based on a representative sample of about 54,000 adults, 16,708 of whom were gun owners. Georgetown University political economist William English commissioned the survey as part of a book project and presented its major findings in a paper available on the Social Science Research Network.

Click to see the Key Findings

  • Overall adult gun ownership rate estimated by the survey of 32 percent is consistent with research by Gallup and the Pew Research Center. This rate varies across racial and ethnic groups: about 25 percent among African Americans, 28 percent among Hispanics, 19 percent among Asians, and 34 percent among whites. Men accounted for about 58 percent of gun owners. Gun ownership rates ranged from about 16 percent in Massachusetts and Hawaii to more than 50 percent in Idaho and West Virginia.
  • Americans own some 415 million firearms, including 171 million handguns, 146 million rifles, and 98 million shotguns.
  • About 30 percent of respondents reported that they had ever owned AR-15s or similar rifles. 48 percent reported having ever owned magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. The survey suggests that up to 44 million AR-15-style rifles and up to 542 million magazines with capacities exceeding 10 rounds are already in circulation.
  • Two-thirds of the respondents who reported owning AR-15-style rifles said they used them for recreational target shooting, half mentioned hunting, and a third mentioned competitive shooting. 62 percent said they used such rifles for home defense, and 35 percent cited defense outside the home.
  • Owners of magazines holding more than ten rounds cite recreational target shooting (64 percent) as the most common, followed by home defense (62 percent), hunting (47 percent), defense outside the home (42 percent), and competitive shooting (27 percent).
  • Thirty-one percent of the gun owners surveyed said they had used a firearm to defend themselves or their property, often on multiple occasions. As in previous research, the vast majority of such incidents (82 percent) did not involve firing a gun, let alone injuring or killing an attacker. In more than four-fifths of the cases, respondents reported that brandishing or mentioning a firearm was enough to eliminate the threat.
  • About half of the defensive gun uses identified by the survey involved more than one assailant. Four-fifths occurred inside the gun owner’s home or on his property, while 9 percent happened in a public place and 3 percent happened at work. The most commonly used firearms were handguns (66 percent), followed by shotguns (21 percent) and rifles (13 percent).
  • Based on the number of incidents that gun owners reported, guns are used defensively by firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year.

Real Gun Safety Legislation

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The Range Access Act was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation, introduced by U.S. Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah), would increase and improve outdoor recreation opportunities across the nation while improving infrastructure and driving economic growth in rural communities.

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Congressman Moore introduced this legislation to increase access for the public to practice marksmanship at safe recreational shooting ranges. When implemented it would require the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to have at least one qualifying recreational shooting range in each National Forest and BLM district. Congressman Moore’s bill would also benefit conservation by reducing pollution at non-dedicated ranges on federal public lands while also generating additional Pittman-Robertson revenue.

Read and download this Bill on the House.gov website.

The immediate benefit of this legislation is providing public access to safe recreational shooting ranges, especially in rural areas. Background checks for firearm sales saw a record 21 million in 2020 and another 18.5 million in 2021. So far, background checks for firearm sales in 2022 are on pace for the third strongest year on record, with background checks topping 1 million for 38 consecutive months. Those gun owners, many of whom are first-timers, are in need of safe and modern ranges to practice marksmanship skills.

This legislation has the added benefit of supporting wildlife conservation and improving recreational shooting access. Recreational shooting is tied to approximately 85 percent of the Pittman-Robertson excise taxes currently being paid by firearm and ammunition manufacturers, making it a major driving contributor to wildlife conservation. Since the Pittman-Robertson excise tax was enacted in 1937, firearm and ammunition makers have paid $15.3 billion for conservation, construction, and improvement of public recreational shooting ranges. Adjusted for inflation, that figure tops $23 billion.

2022 Hunter Education Report

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Hunting today is remarkably safe and has been getting increasingly safer. Wisconsin recorded 264 Negligent Discharge (ND) incidents in 1966, but only 12 in 2021, a 95% decline. That means the state went from 44 NDs per 100,000 hunters in 1966 to 0.15 per 100,000 in the past three years.

Wisconsin made hunter education mandatory for people born in 1973 and later and for all hunters seeking to hunt outside the state. By 1985 the rate of NDs was 12 per 100,000 hunters, dropping to 7 per 100,000 in 2000. Wisconsin’s 2019 gun Deer Season had 564,664 licensed deer hunters with a total of four reported shootings. Three of these injuries were negligent discharges where the hunter injured himself, and one involved a hand injury where a hunter’s negligent discharge injured a member of his hunting party. This puts the injury ratio at 1:141,166, or 0.0007%. 99.9993% of Wisconsin’s hunters in 71 counties took to the field and woods with loaded firearms in pursuit of deer for nine days without incident.

By contrast, golf routinely suffers 180 injuries per 100,000 golfers.

Data compiled by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources since 2007 show that older hunters cause most NDs throughout Wisconsin’s hunting seasons. It’s not age at issue, it’s the fact that these older hunters either don’t attend hunter education or other firearm safety/training courses or have a very large lapse of education.

Over the 14 most recent hunting seasons, hunters 17 and younger typically caused less than 20% of the NDs. According to the DNR’s 2021 hunter-education report (https://widnr.widen.net/s/ddqphtxfv9/he_annual-report_2021), 67% of the 2021 NDs were 41 or older. More specifically, 42% were 61 or older, 8% were 51 to 60, and 17% were 41 to 50.

The patterns are fairly consistent. The DNR’s 2007 report showed hunters 40 and older caused 66% of the 27 hunting incidents. Of those, the riskiest group was 40- to 49-year-olds, with 30% of the NDs; followed by 50- to 59-year-olds, 22%, and 60 and older, 14%. Five years later, the DNR reported 28 NDs during the 2012 fall hunts, with hunters 40 and older causing 58% of the incidents. And five years after that, the DNR reported 22 NDs, with hunters 40 and older causing 55% of the NDs in 2017.

Matt O’Brien, the DNR’s deputy chief warden, said 33% of NDs in 2021 were by hunters that weren’t required to attend the state’s hunter education course and never took it, which has been mandatory for everyone born since 1973. That means hunters now 50 and older still don’t have to take the program, which might help explain why the average age of ND incidents in 2021’s hunting incidents was 51. And for hunters who did take the course but had an ND incident, the average time lapse between their education and the ND was 20 years.

O’Brien said it’s grown harder for the DNR to connect with older hunters, and harder yet to not make them feel persecuted by suggesting remedial training.

“The challenge is how best can we reach hunters in that age group,” O’Brien said. “With all the options on the internet, from social media to podcasts, we can’t just create one public-service ad, play it on local radio stations, and assume we’re reaching 90% of our hunters. And even if we could, not everyone will believe they’re complacent about firearms safety. Or they might take it personally and resent the message. In some ways, it’s like telling senior citizens they have to requalify for their driver’s license. It’s not an easy conversation.”

Education remains vital. Since launching its training program in 1967, Wisconsin has fielded over 16,700 volunteer instructors over the past 55 years. O’Brien is concerned, however, by steady declines in instructor numbers, which fell 19% in 2021 (3,200 to 2,600); and 35% from 2012 to 2021 (4,000 instructors to 2,600).

Read the full article by Patrick Durkin

Use-of-Force Training Statistics

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Dr. Bill Lewinski executive director of the Force Science Institute often notes in his public presentations that the average high school football player gets more training in his sport in his brief career than the average peace officer receives in use-of-force instruction across his or her entire working life. In a first-of-its-kind survey in conjunction with Calibre Press, Crawford Coates has confirmed that truth.

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How-to on Reducing Recoil-related Injuries

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Recoil is never fun – but there are some ways in which you can protect yourself. Sometimes, it is all a matter of accessories that you have around you. For the gunsmiths, here’s how to reduce recoil-related injuries.


http://newsletter.funshoot.net/issues/funshoot-news-gunsmithing-reducing-recoil-related-injuries-1260951

Ballistics Fundamentals

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A historical film demonstrating the fundamentals of ballistics.



Firing Rate versus Accuracy

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Learn more about effective rapid shooting in the field. An overview of “Rapid Semiautomatic Fire and the Assault Rifle: Firing Rate versus Accuracy” published by the USAR Marksmanship Program. Plus, Halloween humor.

http://newsletter.funshoot.net/issues/funshoot-news-mark-westrom-rapid-semiautomatic-fire-1293350

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