Numbers That Give Anti-Gunners Heartburn

12

Earlier this month, the National Shooting Sports Foundation released its annual report on the economic impact of the firearms and ammunition industry, underscoring the time-honored adage of “money talks.”

These reports never fail to bring a smile because they do a couple of things. First, they make it difficult to make an argument that firearms and ammunition manufacturers don’t contribute anything to the national good. It’s nonsense, of course, because the industry provides tens of thousands of jobs, and billions of dollars to the economy.

In 2021, NSSF reported, industry provided more than 375,800 full-time equivalent jobs. The economic impact was $79.52 billion. Last year, the industry paid more than $7.85 billion in business taxes (including property, income and sales-based levies), plus another $1.1 billion in federal excise taxes, which support the famous Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration program, otherwise known as the Pittman-Robertson fund.

Readers may access the full report here.

According to Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president and CEO, “The economic contributions of our industry are indisputably contributing to every state and every community. This is the hallmark of the hard-working men and women who prove that the American firearm and ammunition industry is strong.”

But let’s move on to the other thing NSSF’s reports do. They reinforce the contention that U.S. citizens continue to exercise their Second Amendment rights. At a time in our history when the gun prohibition lobby is being bankrolled by anti-gun billionaires it’s encouraging to know tens of millions of our fellow citizens still cherish their right to keep and bear arms.

“The growth of firearm and ammunition manufacturing year-after-year shows that this industry continues to meet the American demand for lawful firearm ownership,” Bartozzi observed in a prepared statement.

Which brings us around to the March NICS background check data from the FBI, and the “NSSF-adjusted” numbers showing a closer representation of how many actual firearms transactions were conducted last month.

The FBI/NICS raw number of initiated background checks for March was 3,081,724. This number does not represent the actual number of firearms sold, and even the FBI acknowledges that.

In steps the NSSF with an adjusted number showing 1.669 million of those NICS checks involved a retail firearm transfer. That’s down 18.3 percent from the number of checks in March 2021 (2,044,136) involving a completed retail gun transaction.

For the first quarter of 2022, according to NSSF data supplied by Public Affairs Director Mark Oliva, more than 4.212 million NICS checks were conducted to complete actual firearm transfers.

And there is this caveat from NSSF: “Please note: Twenty-five states currently have at least one qualified alternative permit, which under the Brady Act allows the permit-holder, who has undergone a background check to obtain the permit, to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer without a separate additional background check for that transfer. The number of NICS checks in these states does not include these legal transfers based on qualifying permits and NSSF does not adjust for these transfers.”

By the time you read this, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp should have signed legislation
making his state the 25th to adopt “Constitutional Carry” for law-abiding citizens.

Did I Hear ’25?’

Not only do 25 states have a “qualified alternative permit,” the same number of states—by the time you read this—should have “Constitutional Carry” as the law.

Last week, this column reported on the passage of permitless carry in Ohio and Alabama, and Indiana had just jumped on the Constitutional Carry bandwagon. At this writing, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was getting ready to sign legislation in his state. Last time we checked, there were still 50 states in the Union, so fully half of all the states now allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms for personal protection without having to jump through a series of bureaucratic hoops to obtain a license or permit.

All of those states still have licenses/permits available for residents who may travel to other states which recognize non-resident carry licenses under reciprocity agreements or laws.

The hilarious part about this wave of permitless carry is the arguments against it. The gun control crowd keeps trotting out the rather tattered arguments against honest citizens being armed, asserting that violent crime will spike. We’ve got a news flash for these people: Criminals already carry guns without permits, as they’ve been doing for decades, and they are the ones committing the violent crimes.

NSSF’s Oliva sent a note to journalists revealing, “Anecdotal reports of reports of increased interest in firearm purchases following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine proved to be true as we saw background check figures for firearm sales increase by more than 300,000 from February’s adjusted figure of 1,352,105 to March’s 1,669,578. That continues the streak of more than 1 million background checks for the sale of a firearm for 32 months.”

Can’t Make This Up

Convicted felons are not supposed to have firearms and they know it, which explains why a gent named Jeremy John Walston of Conrad, Mont., will be spending 21 months in the “Graybar Hotel” for having not one, not two but three firearms within a month after being released on probation for an earlier felony conviction.

According to KBZK News, in August 2020, probation officers “conducted a check of Watson’s residence” and struck paydirt. They found three guns—a Kel Tec pump shotgun, Smith & Wesson semi-auto rifle and Springfield Armory semi-auto pistol—in his bedroom. On top of that, Walston reportedly “admitted to having sold a second rifle shortly before his arrest.”

After he gets out in 2024, Walston will be on three years’ probation.

As if to prove you actually can top the Montana story, a guy in Independence, Missouri pleaded guilty late last month to “his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and to illegally possessing firearms.” As stories go, this one has an interesting quirk.

According to a press release from the Justice Department, this all started when Jason Ruben Breedlove was arrested “after he drove two victims of an accidental shooting to the hospital emergency room.” This shooting occurred back on Feb. 5, 2018, so justice was a little slow, but it finally caught up.

After Bates County Sheriff’s deputies collared Breedlove, they reportedly searched the residence where the shooting occurred, the news release said. That’s where they found 25 grams of meth, and Breedlove admitted it was his. They also found a loaded .40-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol, and recovered a live round in Breedlove’s trousers. When they searched his vehicle, they also found a Savage rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor plus ammunition.

S&W Sues Hawaii

Late last month, Honolulu Civil Beat reported that Smith & Wesson had sued the Hawaii Attorney General’s office “over the high fee cost the agency charged for public records” having to do with “firearms issues.”

The news organ noted the AG’s office wanted up to $27,000 for the requested records, and they wanted $12,000 up front. An attorney representing S&W suggested the high fee was designed to discourage the PR request.

According to the report, S&W had made similar requests in other states, and none of them put up “the same barriers to access.”

We’ve Got Mail

“In your American Handgunner article about Alabama and Ohio passing constitutional carry you asked our opinions. Unfortunately, AH has no comments section after the online articles.

Like you, I am a Washington resident, and like you I am pissed about our legislature intentionally passing anti-gun legislation that by their own admission won’t pass constitutional scrutiny. I never miss an election and always vote pro gun, but Seattle seems to out-vote the rest of the state.

Anyway, to the point. I firmly support constitutional concealed carry, and without restrictions as to location. The one possible exception I would make is courtrooms, but I am not sure arms couldn’t be accommodated even there.

Since you write so often for the AH digital stuff, you might talk to them about a comments section. If it turned out to be a bust, it could always be eliminated. Or they might consider adding a link to your AH email.”

Scott Morris
Washougal, Washington

Dave responds: It’s always good to hear from a fellow Washington resident, especially one who always vote pro-gun! As you see fit, send email to [email protected] I’ll get it, and publish them as space allows.

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