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Gun dealers vs. post offices (in one chart)

2nd Amend.

Gun dealers vs. post offices (in one chart)

There are more gun dealers in the United States than post offices.

We picked up on this data point last night in a discussion with Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), who’s leading House Democrats in their push to enact new gun laws. Citing government statistics, Thompson noted that as of January, there were 31,857 post offices across the country, compared with 58,344 licensed gun dealers. You can see that comparison demonstrated in this chart:

(Review the data on post offices here, courtesy of USPS, and on gun shops here, via the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.)

Caveat: “Gun dealers” doesn’t imply a brick-and-mortar retail location, but the vast majority of licensed dealers do operate gun shops.

This also means there are more gun dealers in the U.S. than the total number of locations owned and operated by Wal-Mart, Starbucks and McDonald’s, because the U.S. Postal Service often brags that it operates more retail locations than those three large retailers combined.



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  • John

    In a reply to Mike Thompson, D-CA, the gun dealers probably make a profit as opposed to the PO losing billions each year.

    • Daniel F. Melton

      If the postal service was allowed to be run as a free enterprise business, they might turn a profit.

  • Dr. Evil

    Post offices don’t have to compete, so being inconvenient and snarly service is what they are all about.

    • mogul264

      Actually, the Post Office DOES have to compete, and, since they aren’t allowed to make any profit, are losing revenue to the Internet, Faxes, Federal Express, United Parcel Service (their main competitors), and various other delivery services. They were also required to over-fund the retirement system in place BEFORE they became a ‘federal’ corporation. Kind of like a boxer having to fight with both arms strapped to his sides, a little hard to defend onesself!

    • David

      Evil, depends on the location of the place. In small towns like my own, the USPS employees are just regular folks who do their best to earn a living (and they do). I’m not going to say that they aren’t in trouble as an institutions simply because of email, text messaging, and other electronic instantaneous ways for communication (like, uh, picking up the darn phone once in a while!), and its circumstances highlight the difference between a government agency trying to compete with for profit ventures like DHL, FedEx, and UPS…they lose most of those battles.

      I am just a little perplexed at the vitriol though – just the changing of the marketplace and realization that government cannot compete against the private sector. Sad for good people who aligned themselves with USPS in better days.

  • consrvative

    Most gun dealers operate at a profit. Can the Post Office make this claim? NO!

    • Scott

      The Post Office by law is supposed to be a break even organization and there would have to be a Constitutional change to get rid of the Post Office. Article 1, section 8 establishes the Postal Service, also if the government would stop stealing from the Postal Service and Social Security maybe just maybe both would have money, The Service has to pay at least 10 years in advance for health benefits and or retirement, what other government or private company has to pay that far in advance.

      • Steven

        Article 1, Section 8 grants Congress to power to establish Post Offices. It DOES NOT require Congress to EXERCISE that power. Should Congress choose to abolish the Post Office, there is NOTHING in the Constitution that would prohibit it.

        I wish people would try READING the Constitution before trying to state what it says. It takes less than 2 hours, including all 27 amendments. I read it in a single setting at least twice a year, in addition to frequent references to the copy next to my keyboard.

        • Scott

          Evidently you did not read everything I wrote and you missed the point of my response I was making to consrvative, that the Post Office IS NOT ALLOWED BY LAW to MAKE A PROFIT.

          Yes, I have read the Constitution many time including all amendments, I also have read it to my Grandchildren and answered any questions they have asked.

          Oh by the way I have been reading it the better part of 60 years.

          Stop part and parceling what people have written, read it all and keep it in perspective.

          • Steven

            Evidently YOU missed that my response was to your FALSE statement that a Constitutional amendment would be needed to get rid of the Post Office. The portion of the Constitution YOU cited leaves the very existence of the Post Office ENTIRELY in the hands of Congress. As long as we are citing sources, exactly where in Federal law is the Post Office prohibited from making a profit?

      • Steven

        As for your question about what private company has to pay 10 years in advance for retirement benefits, the answer is ALL of them. Actually, they are legally required to fund a plan sufficient to cover any pension plan FOREVER, even it the company goes bankrupt. The Post Office is actually EXEMPT from the REAL cost of a pension plan.

  • Curtis

    There were a lot more FFL holders prior to Clinton’s ATF threatening every zoning board in the country about the zoning of a license holder. I recall the number being over 200,000 and dropping to 37,000 in a year. There was a particular push to have regular Type 01 FFL holders switch to Curio and Relic licenses.

    • Daniel F. Melton

      Don’t forget that the batfe has been industriously attacking anyone who holds an FFL over imaginary paperwork violations in efforts to shut ’em down.

  • John S.

    I have two comments, good and so what.

  • covert1968

    The Government doesn’t run gun dealers is the main reason that gun dealers make money and the Post office doesn’t. “Efficiency and no waste versus inefficiency and waste all you can”!

  • Doc

    Wasn’t this discussion supposed to be about guns, gun control, and evil politicians? Please. Let’s stop bickering amongst ourselves and remember who the enemies of liberty are; the people who BELIEVE they know best. The people who BELIEVE we are too stupid and ignorant to make our own decisions; the communist, Marxist, and socialist amongst us. Let us all work together to prove them wrong and the Founding Fathers right.

  • Dempsey Coleman

    Maybe we should just pick our mail up at our local Gun Shop
    That would eliminate a Postal Woker from going Postal in the
    workplace all employes would be Armed not just the one Idiot
    we now would have at the Post Office

  • KDS

    P.O vs B.O both stink!!!!

  • Sagebrush6

    The USPS is run by a bunch of government buffoons. They don’t care if they even break even. The taxpayers pay for it anyway. Who cares. The top managers of the USPS should all be fired.

  • Jim Wiseman

    And which has more workplace violence?

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