According to a government report, the number of guns in private hands in the United States has increased dramatically over the past 20 years. US gun manufacturers alone produced more than 139 million firearms for the commercial market between 2000 and 2020, according to the Justice Department report released on Tuesday. In addition, there are 71 million imported weapons. This compares to only 7.5 million exports. Meanwhile, the government is concerned about unregistered “ghost weapons.”

US gun buyers prefer semi-automatic assault rifles, but the increasingly cheaper, easy-to-use 9mm semi-automatic pistols are gaining in popularity. In addition, there are more and more self-made weapons with parts from the Internet or 3D printers. The investigation is intended to help the US government identify the “top causes of gun violence” and “get gunmen off the streets,” said Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco.

The CDC said last week that the number of gun deaths in the United States had experienced a “historic” rise in 2020. The United States recorded 19,350 firearm homicides, a third more than 2019. There were also 24,245 firearm suicides. A total of eleven people were recently killed by gunfire in Buffalo and Laguna Woods, California. In both cases, the police assume a racist or politically motivated perpetrator.

The arms industry has developed rapidly. In 2000, there were 2,222 registered active manufacturers in the United States. In 2020 it was almost 17,000. Annual production increased from 3.9 million to 11.3 million. Firearms from official manufacturers must be serialized so they can be traced by law enforcement.

However, officials are increasingly concerned about home-made “ghost guns”, which have no such marking and are increasingly found in crime cases. In 2021, officials seized 19,344 such weapons. Five years earlier there were only 1,758.