Gun ownership has been a staple of traditional American life since the inception of the country, and even long before then. Some Americans only need guns to go hunting, for sport, or home protection, but there are many gun enthusiasts who embrace the Second Amendment and load up on as many firearms as they can. Whether it is one gun or 20, selling guns in the United States is a lucrative business.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that Americans bought roughly 18.5 million firearms in 2021 (the second most ever in a year), and while this might seem like a lot for a country of about 330 million, it is actually down from 21 million in 2020.
With these back-to-back years of record gun sales, someone is profiting big, and some states are raking in the most money from these sales.
To identify the states that make the most money from guns, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Firearm and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact report for 2022. States are ranked by the overall economic output from gun sales, which include direct contributions such as jobs, wages, and business taxes as well as indirect contributions. The federal gun business tax, total gun jobs, and total and average gun job wages also come from the report. We also added a state’s overall economic output (gross domestic product) for 2021 using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
A few interesting trends stand out from the industry’s group data. Perhaps not surprising, in the more populous states, the economic output from the gun industry tends to be greater. It is worth pointing out that this also tracks consistently with the number of gun-related jobs in each state. The report also notes that the industry contributed to over 375,000 job growth since 2008, over 169,000 of them added directly by the industry. (Here are the states where people buy the most guns.)
Separately, taxes are also a factor in the economic contribution the industry makes in a state, but there are some distinctions. Some states heavily tax the firearm industry, while others are more laissez-faire. For example Texas only has a 6.25% tax on firearms, its regular sales tax, while California is looking to mirror the Federal excise tax on gun and ammunition sales of 10%-11%.
Even though there is much controversy surrounding the gun industry, there is no doubt that it is a cash cow, and in addition to contributing mainly to gun makers and sellers revenue, it also adds to state coffers. There are, however, other costs to consider. Here are states where the most murders are committed with a gun.
Here’s a look at states that make the most money from guns.
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