In the United States, there are now somewhere between 270 million and 310 million guns, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s almost one gun for every person in the nation.
While we spend a lot of time discussing Second Amendment rights and gun-control measures, the fact is guns are big business in the United States.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. gun manufacturing has more than tripled since 2001 (from 2.9 million to 10.8 million total firearms produced).
Meantime, as Jim Tankersley explains, gun manufacturer profits have risen as well.
The stock market shows that story. If you’d bought shares of Sturm, Ruger & Co. in 2009, they’d be worth about 10 times as much today. That’s a slightly better return than if you’d bought Apple.
And while some U.S.-manufactured guns are exported (a bit less than 400 thousand in 2013), that was more than made up for by firearms imports into the United States (more than 5.5 million in 2013).
You want to understand the escalation of gun violence in the United States? Just follow the money. . .