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Industry News: Study: Global Small Arms Trade Up 20%... U.S. Demand Key Driver
By Robert M. Hausman

The value of the authorized global trade in small arms, including parts, accessories and ammunition, jumped 28% between 2000 and 2006, an increase of USD $653 million, according to UN customs data presented in the 2009 edition of the Small Arms Survey of Geneva, Switzerland.

The growth was most pronounced in transfers of parts and accessories for handguns, which doubled over the period. All categories saw increases with the exception of military small arms and light weapons, which dropped by 29%.

The U.S. continues to drive the global small arms trade, the report notes, remaining the largest importer of handguns, sporting shotguns, and small caliber ammunition. Greater U.S. demand for small arms was responsible for 48% of the worldwide increase in imports from 2000 to 2006.

Using customs data and other information supplied by 53 countries, the Small Arms Survey estimates the global authorized trade in firearms (all small arms and some light weapons) at approximately USD $1.58 billion in 2006.

“Current data shows that the global trade in small arms and light weapons is robust and even expanding, and that handguns are driving it,” said Small Arms Survey Program Director Keith Krause. “We don’t know whether these arms are destined for civilians, police, or military forces. But it is striking that handguns have outpaced all other small arms and light weapons over the period.”

The 2009 edition of the Survey also found that according to available customs data for 2006, top exporters of small arms and light weapons, including their parts, accessories, and ammunition (those with annual exports worth at least USD $100 million) were the United States, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Austria and Belgium (in descending order). China and the Russian Federation are probably also top exporters, but customs data alone does not support this status.

The 2009 Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer finds that the most transparent major exporting countries are (in descending order): Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Norway, with the Netherlands, Serbia, and the United States tied for fifth place. The least transparent countries are Iran and North Korea (tied), followed by South Africa, the Russian Federation, Israel, and Taiwan, in that order.

The Small Arms Survey, published by Cambridge University Press, is an independent research project funded by numerous governments.

Swiss Government Ignores Gun Ban Vote

Despite a successful campaign by left leaning women’s organizations leading to a successful vote by the Swiss people to ban the practice of militia members keeping their service rifles at home, the Swiss Cabinet has said it will ignore the vote results as bad policy and will continue to allow active militia members to keep their service rifles at home. The government did add a new option to the regulations allowing militia members to opt to keep their rifles at government arsenals if they so choose. The initiative came about after a series of family massacres by militia members using their government issued service rifles. Women’s groups campaigned that the ban would make women safer. December ’09 NICS Checks Total in Top Five

Some 1,407,155 background checks on potential firearm buyers were conducted during December 2009, according to data released by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The total ranks December in the top five of all months since the NICS began operation.

The total, while being a 7.6% decline from the 1,523,426 checks conducted in December 2008, when a gun buying panic was underway, is still an increase of 14.4% over the total number of checks conducted in December 2007.

Year-to-date background checks for 2009 total 14,033,824, an increase of 10.4% over the same time period last year. The total number of background checks reported since the beginning of NICS is 110,017,832.

Study: First Sale Rule Rarely Used

Only 2.4% of total U.S. imports were valued using the “first sale rule” to lower duties in the year ended last August 31st. The statistic was reported by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in its report Use of the “First Sale Rule” for Customs Valuation of U.S. Imports.

During the 12-month period under study from Sept. 1, 2008 to Aug. 31, 2009, a total of 23,520 unique importing entities reported using the first sale rule. This accounts for only 8.5% of all U.S. importing entities.

When viewed in terms of import value, of the $1.63 trillion in total U.S. imports over the period, $38.5 billion was imported using the first sale rule, or about 2.4% of total U.S. imports. Importers used the first sale rule on average in 2.9 different months during the year. The first sale rule was put into effect over 20 years ago and is used by U.S. importers to lower import duties. It is mainly used in the textiles, apparel and footwear industries but applies to other products as well. The rule can be used when an item may have been subject to several transactions with each interim buyer adding to the ultimate price paid by the U.S. importer.

Importers, under certain conditions, can base the valuation of a product on the first or earlier sale in a series of transactions, rather than the last one. For example, a product is produced in China, sold to a wholesaler in Hong Kong and then sold to an importer in Los Angeles. The first sale rule would allow the U.S. importer to declare the product’s value, for import duty purposes, as the price of the original China-Hong Kong transaction. The first sale rule can also be used when no duties are due. These include about $8.1 billion of imports from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, accounting for 21% of all “first sale” imports.

The USITC estimates that $1.411 trillion of U.S. imports used the transaction value method during the year under study. This method is used to value approximately 86.4% of total U.S. imports, according to U.S. Customs. The transaction value method is based on the price actually paid or payable by a buyer for goods, plus adjustments for certain fees such as commissions, packing, royalties, and licensing.

The first sale rule can be used only when the transaction value method is the otherwise appropriate way of customs valuation. U.S. Customs and Border Protection tried to eliminate the first sale rule in 2008 but was forced to withdraw the idea in the face of opposition from industry, led by the Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. law firm.

UMAREX Introduces First Official H&K Replicas

UMAREX, USA is introducing the first official Heckler & Koch replica firearms. The dedicated .22 Long Rifle platforms are not knock-offs, but a new, licensed, economically-priced reproduction available in Model 416 pistol and Model MP5 tactical rifle configurations.

UMAREX USA is now the official H&K replica .22 LR U.S. importer following the inking of a licensing agreement between manufacturer Carl Walther Germany and H&K. UMAREX’s offerings are expected to be great sellers.

“These rifles are a high-quality product at a reasonable purchase price. The savings from a case of ammo at the range versus firing centerfire through a larger caliber AR equate to the purchase cost of one of the new replicas,” noted Justin Biddle, marketing manager for UMAREX USA. “The H&K rifles are a natural succession to our product evolution. In 2008 we entered the .22 caliber rifle market with the Hammerli Sport 22SA and in 2009 we introduced Colt .22 Tactical Rimfire Rifles.”

The new H&K .22 Tactical Rimfire rifles have both metal upper and lower receivers for durability and authenticity. They are available in the MP5 A5 and SD as well as the 416 Pistol and the model D145RS. The rate of twist in the barrels for all models is one turn in 13.75 inch with six grooves. Each model has a front sight adjustable for elevation (through the use of replaceable posts) and rear sight adjustable for windage and elevation. The firearms are blowback operated. The MP5 series is available with 10 and 25-round magazines and the Model 416 series comes with 10- or 20-round magazines. The 416 rifle will begin shipping in late spring followed by the MP5.

UMAREX was established in 1972 as “Uma Mayer Ussfeller GmbH” to serve the market in Europe for tear gas and signal pistols, later branching out into air rifles. After acquiring Reck Sportwaffen Fabrick Karl Arndt, the firm was reorganized under the name “UMAREX.” The company’s Reck P800 is famous worldwide as the perfect replica of the Walther PPK.

UMAREX claims to be world’s largest maker of replicas by producing German-made air guns, tear gas guns, signal pistols and now replica firearms. UMAREX also says it is Europe’s largest marketer of air rifles. UMAREX USA’s product lines include airguns, airsoft, paintball and tactical rimfire products. For more information visit

Gunsite’s Buz Mills to Run for AZ Governor

Gunsite Academy owner and NRA board member Owen “Buz” Mills has announced his candidacy for the Arizona Governor’s position by filing documents with the AZ Secretary of State’s office.

NRA Files Motion to Appear Before Supreme Court

The National Rifle Association has filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court to allow its lawyer, former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, to take part in the McDonald v. Chicago case to be argued in early March. The case will determine whether the firearms rights affirmed by the Second Amendment can be applied against state and local governments.

The case has thus far been filed and handled by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) which, according to reports, is resisting the NRA’s involvement as the NRA plans to stress an alternative constitutional argument not relying on the fourteenth amendment as the SAF plans to argue.

The author publishes two of the small arms industry’s most widely read trade newsletters. The International Firearms Trade covers the world firearms scene, and The New Firearms Business covers the domestic market. Visit He may be reached at:


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