Gun Industry Contributes $51.3B to US Economy, Research Shows

Gun wall rack with rifles.
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No matter which side of the political spectrum you’re on, there’s no denying that guns are big business in America. In 2016 alone, the gun industry was responsible for roughly $51.3 billion in both direct and indirect economic activity across the country.

This figure comes from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), an organization that represents gun owners, retailers, manufacturers and distributors. In its 2017 report, the NSSF details the gun industry’s economic impact across America. The report identified how the firearms industry contributes to wages, jobs, taxes and total economic output on a national and state-by-state level.

You can use this data to see precisely where your state ranks and understand how much economic activity in your state can be traced to one of the most robust and fastest-growing industries in the country — the gun industry.

Economic Impact of the U.S. Gun Industry

Take the Quiz: Can You Guess the Biggest Industry in Your State?

The firearms industry is responsible for more than 300,000 jobs and more than $15 billion in wages, when you count direct, supplier and induced jobs and wages, according to the NSSF report. For 20 states, the total economic impact of the gun industry measures into the billions.

Not surprisingly, small Northeastern states like Rhode Island and Vermont rank near the bottom. Meanwhile, large states like California and Texas rank near the top — but there are also plenty of surprises. New York, which is typically not considered a “gun state,” ranked in the top 10. Sparsely populated Minnesota made the top three, outranking even populous Florida.

When it comes to jobs provided by or associated with the gun industry, heavily populated states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Texas anchor the top of the list. But when you look at gun industry jobs per capita, several states are a combination of small, sparsely populated or largely rural dominate. Examples are Idaho, New Hampshire, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming. The same holds true for per capita excise tax, where Alaska, Wyoming, Montana and Maine take the top spots.

Make Your Money Work for You

Here’s a look at the firearm industry’s total economic output by state:

Rank State Total Economic Output
1 Texas $3,828,028,200
2 California $3,635,779,700
3 Minnesota $2,428,590,900
4 Florida $2,394,885,500
5 Illinois $2,183,774,100
6 North Carolina $1,979,353,500
7 Pennsylvania $1,941,014,200
8 Massachusetts $1,859,186,300
9 New York $1,835,764,100
10 Ohio $1,605,685,300
11 Missouri $1,573,148,500
12 Oregon $1,438,335,600
13 Michigan $1,301,494,400
14 Connecticut $1,245,480,500
15 Arkansas $1,231,192,700
16 Georgia $1,187,490,600
17 Idaho $1,165,240,200
18 Arizona $1,116,813,000
19 Washington $1,032,929,300
20 Tennessee $1,028,454,200
21 New Hampshire $972,451,900
22 Mississippi $963,091,700
23 Alabama $954,611,400
24 Virginia $935,350,300
25 Colorado $927,813,400
26 Utah $912,332,900
27 Wisconsin $832,563,200
28 Kansas $830,014,800
29 South Carolina $771,562,300
30 Nebraska $750,530,700
31 Indiana $678,918,900
32 Kentucky $649,289,100
33 Maryland $581,152,500
34 Louisiana $561,685,100
35 Oklahoma $507,298,300
36 Montana $455,954,400
37 Iowa $406,089,400
38 Nevada $397,064,000
39 South Dakota $376,872,400
40 Maine $360,876,900
41 New Jersey $331,319,400
42 West Virginia $212,443,900
43 Wyoming $183,533,200
44 Alaska $141,443,100
45 New Mexico $133,242,300
46 North Dakota $127,549,200
47 Vermont $104,228,800
48 Rhode Island $97,327,400
49 District of Columbia $39,693,200
50 Hawaii $38,730,400
51 Delaware $3,768,600

Click to discover the biggest export from your state.

Methodology: All of the data for this article was sourced from the NSSF’s 2017 Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report.


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