The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) has released the number of dealers in the U.S.  There are now just over 129,800 BATF licensed dealers, according to the latest Bureau statistics as of August 1st, 2012, that’s an increase of 3,200 more gun dealers in America. Of those, 51,438 are retail gun and/or sporting goods stores, just over 7,350 are pawn shops and 61,560 are individual dealers, curators and/or collectors with the remaining licenses issued to manufacturers and importers. The number of gun owners has increased too.

America has an appetite for larger calibers too. While .22 caliber firearms are still extremely popular, the bigger calibers are seeing a growth in popularity. The recent popularity of the AR-15′s and the big .50 caliber rifles has manufacturers working overtime. The 9mm, .223, .40 and .45 calibers are ringing registers in the U.S. in record numbers.

In Texas, firearms seem to go hand in hand with every lifestyle, but especially in West Texas and Abilene, where hunting and shooting are growing at an astonishing rate. It seems there’s a skeet, trap or clay shoot every weekend in and around Abilene. Schools in the Lone Star State have 4-H and/or shooting clubs, many of which host competitions of all kinds. While the sheer numbers of “Federally Licensed Firearm Dealers” seems like a lot, the majority of licenses are granted to “curators and /or collectors” whom mostly deal in high end relics and antique guns.

A number that is alarming, is the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). In 2010 alone, NICS ran over 16.4 million background checks in America for gun sales. Don’t let that last figure scare you because, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Violent Crimes Report shows a drop in personal crimes. The number of people killed by a firearm in America, was 47,856, that number includes persons shot by law enforcement while in the line of duty as well, that is, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, for a five year period.

While it might seem that Americans are obsessed with firearms, more and more states continue to add, refine or relax their concealed carry laws. The FBI has detected a 4% drop in personal crimes across the U.S. as stated in their annual 2011 crime report.

Here are the True FBI facts

Crime by the numbers

Murder -1.9%

Robbery -4.0%

Forcible Rape -4.0%

Aggravated Assault -4.0%

Motor Vehicle Theft -3.3%

Larceny Theft -0.9%

Arson -5.0%

Burglary +0.3%

These are the latest statistical numbers from the FBI, according to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data, gathered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Bureau strongly cautions against drawing conclusions by making direct comparisons between cities or individual agencies, and valid assessments are only possible with careful study and analysis of the unique conditions that affect each law enforcement jurisdiction or agency.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation website

Below I’m holding the new Ruger Scout .308 camp rifle