Americans like guns. A look at public data shows how much: Gun production is up, gun background checks are up — and even gun-related baby names, like Colt and Gunner, are on the rise.
Gun production is skyrocketing.
More than 8.57 million guns were produced in 2012, up 31 percent from 6.54 million in 2011, according to data released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has been tracking the statistics since 1986.And that's after it rose almost 20 percent in 2011. And 30 percent in 2009.
The graph above uses data from ATF reports since 2009, breaking out production by type of weapon. A lot of the growth is in the yellow section, which reflects rifle production, a category that includes the hyper-popular AR-15.
Not all of the weapons made in the United States stay here, of course. Of the 8.5 million made in 2012, about 300,000 were exported, leaving only 8.2 million brand-new guns for Americans.
More: The Astonishing Growth of American Gun Culture, In Three Graphs - The Wire