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Despite Economy, Ohio, U.S. Gun Sales Defy Gravity

Despite Economy, Ohio, U.S. Gun Sales Defy Gravity

Ohioans may not be dining out as much or buying new refrigerators and pickup tracks, but recently released figures from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) indicate they are continuing to purchase firearms at a record pace.

During the first seven months of 2011, the FBI conducted 247,847 background checks for firearm purchases at gun sellers in Ohio, an increase of 17.7 percent from the same period in 2010. Further, checks were up 9.2 percent from 2009 and 42.4 percent from 2008, according to NICS figures.

The number of background checks—along with federal excise tax totals—is considered one of the most accurate measures of gun sales. While not all checks lead to purchases, a very high percentage do.

On the national level, the quarterly Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax Collection report released this week by the Department of the Treasury indicates firearm and ammunition manufacturers reported tax liabilities of $110.1 million in the first calendar quarter of 2011, an increase of 8.2 percent over the same period last year.

The quarterly report, which covers the time period of Jan. 1 through March 31, indicates $37.12 million was due in taxes for pistols and revolvers, $33.71 million for firearms (other)/ long guns and $39.27 million for ammunition (shells and cartridges). Compared to the same time period in 2010, tax obligations were up 18.5 percent for pistols and revolvers, up 7.19 percent for firearms (other)/ long guns and up 0.74 percent for ammunition (shells and cartridges).

Excise taxes on firearms and ammunition sales (also known as Pittman-Robertson funds) are paid quarterly by firearms and ammunition manufacturers, and earmarked for state wildlife conservation and habitat restoration programs. In the past 15 years, excise taxes on firearms have generated more than $3 billion for state wildlife programs, hunter education, shooting ranges and other programs.

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