US gun manufacturers have produced over 70 million firearms since 2008, quickly escalating the production of rifles and the types of semiautomatic weapons used in recent mass shootings, according to data from the US government and gun industry.
In 2016, the latest year for which data is available, firearms companies sharply increased production, building 11.5 million guns, in part due to a belief that the Democratic Party would win the presidential election that year and curtail access to semiautomatic weapons such as the AR-15 rifle.
American companies have produced more than 150 million firearms since 1986, according to the “Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Report” published each year by the US Justice Department.
The vast majority of all US-produced firearms were sold domestically, the Justice Department said.
The data also shows periodic spikes of production and firearm sales when there’s the possibility of new federal…