Willie, you bring up a strong point about the small vs large companies. Its good you bring up Barrett. Mr Barrett has been making a stand on any restrictions on sales of his .50BMG rifles. That's all well and good, right? Since we are talking about the law enforcement loophole though, it would seem odd (at least it does to me) that he still list the REC7 on his website, under the specifications tab, as
Originally Posted by Barrett.net
Gas Piston System
knowing full well, that law enforcement and military are the only source of sales he could have in the USA for the select fire versions, since they are post '86 rifles. I would have more respect for Barrett's position if he was completely one way, or the other. No disrespect to Barrett, or other similar manufacturers who make select fire carbines, and standard semi-auto versions either. But I would think if they felt so strongly about closing any "loophole" they would discontinue these post 86 sales too.
Also, the argument about how firearms companies don't make any, or at least very little money off of the firearms is not entirely true. Many folks see one company or another offering to "give" the agency in question new firearms, in exchange for their old ones. Pretty typical. One thing most people forget when they look at this is that the price is lower anyway, since most of the law enforcement agencies are exempt from FET, which drops the price. Second is the customer-company relationship due to liability concerns, which keeps the agency buying any need spare parts from the manufacturer or returning the firearm to the manufacturer for service.
So, lets just compare this "free" gun in a quick way.
Ed's sales Glocks (individual officer price, agency is typically lower)
for $398.20. the used Glocks that get turned in and resold usually bring $325-$350 in my experience. So your looking at a spread of $73.20 on the high end, and $48.20 on the low end. If purchased from a law enforcement distributor, add in some extras purchased at the time, or new holsters, belts, mag pouches, etc that are typically tossed in when firearms are traded and it drops that spread down even more. So the "free" firearms, really are not "free" are they?
As to the actual size of the law enforcement market, it would vary, but lets just go to Wikipedia since its quick for a number.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
2008, state and local law enforcement agencies employed more than 1.1 million persons on a full-time basis, including about 765,000 sworn personnel (defined as those with general arrest powers). Agencies also employed approximately 100,000 part-time employees, including 44,000 sworn officers.
so, they list 765,000 for full time, and another 44,000 for part time, sworn officers. That's 809,000, lets round it to 800,000 for an easy number, shall we? Also, since Wikipedia didn't mention some folks who are not always included in the law enforcement sworn personnel numbers, such as detention officers, corrections, and armed probation officers, its good to figure that the number may actually be a good big higher then 800,000 for the total number.
So to figure out market share, we have an 800,000 number right? Ok, lets say on the high end they all have 4 duty firearms, pistol, back-up, shotgun, carbine. So 4 times 800k is 3.2 million firearms at the higher end for law enforcement. So we have the high number of 3.2m if every officer has 4 firearms for duty use, and the low number of 800k if they just have the 1 pistol. Also, how often are firearms replaced in law enforcement? For quick figures, lets just say either 5 or 10 years. Agencies around the country buy firearms at various times, so lets get a yearly number.
800k firearms replaced every 5 years, is 160k firearms a year.
3.2m firearms replaced every 5 years, is 640k firearms a year.
800k firearms replaced every 10 years is 80k firearms a year purchased
3.2m firearms replaced every 10 years is 320k firearms a year purchased
So, by looking at the above, the 100k firearms to the law enforcement market isn't totally off, but could be low, or just an off year for purchases due to other budget issues. Its a smaller amount then typical public sales, but the difference is, is that its a fairly steady volume for the most part, year after year after year.