Firearms industry research points to the fact there are more Modern Sporting Rifles in circulation today than there are Ford F-Series trucks on the road.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, crunching data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and U.S. International Trade Commission, using information from manufacturers, importers, and exporters of AR-15 and AK-style rifles, issued an estimate that no less than 24.4 million such rifles were made or brought into the country between 1990 and 2020. This figure represents a bump of some 4.6 million rifles since the last estimate was conducted just two short years ago. By comparison, it was estimated last year that only 16.1 million Ford F-series trucks were currently driving around.

"This is a truly significant figure that demonstrates – again – the popularity of this commonly-owned style of rifle," said NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi. "The firearm industry responds to market demand, and this shows that during the elevated period of firearm sales that began in 2020, this particular style of rifle is the top choice for law-abiding citizens for hunting, recreational shooting, and self-defense."

Notably, the data doesn't include the thousands of popular semi-autos imported or produced prior to 1990 including FAL variants, Galils, Steyr AUGs, AK variants, and early ARs produced by companies like Colt, Olympic, and Bushmaster. It also does not consider personally-made firearms constructed from so-called 80-percent receivers or receiver kits. Further, as the ATF's Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Exportation Report, or AMFER, is a year behind to protect industry data, the NSSF's estimate doesn't cover guns made in 2021 or so far this year.

The news comes as Congress is weighing a ban on the further import and sale of these commonly-used firearms, which are some of the most popular guns on the market and have been sold in one form or another since the mid-20th Century.

U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) asked his Democratic colleagues about the bill’s purpose last week, saying, “Would anyone on the other side dispute that this bill would ban weapons that are in common use in the United States today?"

“That’s the point of the bill,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, replied.

“So, to clarify, Mr. Chairman, you’re saying it is the point of the bill to ban weapons that are in common use in the United States today?” said Bishop.

“Yes,” replied Nadler.

Banner image: Guns in the vault at Daniel Defense, seen during a factory tour. (Photo: Chris Eger/

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