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Jobs, Wages, and Taxes from 2016 U.S. Gun Sales

An overlooked part of the gun rights and gun control debate is the economic impact of U.S. gun sales.

All sociopolitical factors aside, the purely commercial impact of firearms in the U.S. means more jobs and wages for U.S. residents, and tax revenue for state and federal governments.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation commissioned a study from John Dunham & Associates, an economics research firm, to look into the economic impact of the firearms and ammunition industry.

Here are a few takeaways worth your time.

Jobs Created From U.S. Gun Sales And Manufacturing

Jobs. Every political candidate talks about them. The overall consensus is pretty universal: we want more of them.

U.S. gun sales, however, elicit different responses across the political aisles.

Despite that, the massive U.S. gun and ammunition industry puts food on the table for the 141,500 folks it directly employed in 2016.

Part of Ruger's factory production floor

That's right. Nearly 150,000 jobs came from companies in the U.S. that manufacture, distribute and sell firearms, ammunition and hunting gear.

That's not including the additional 159,623 jobs in 2016 in supplier and ancillary industries connected to gun and ammo manufacturing.

NICS checks show a huge growth in gun sales
NICS Background Checks show steady upward growth of firearms purchases

In direct employment, this generated $5,847,837,400 in wages and a total of $20,223,132,100 in economic output.

In supplier employment, this generated $4,522,015,700 in wages and a total of $15,525,775,600 in economic output.

In ancillary employment, this generated $4,813,571,600 in wages and $15,502,536,200 in economic output.

When all's said and done, there was over $15.18 billion in wages and $51.25 billion in economic output in the arms and ammunition industry.

To put it differently, that's a lot of commas.

Commas mean money in employee bank accounts, later to be redirected into the economy, further stimulating growth and all that economic good stuff (like the ability to buy more guns).

Which states provided the most jobs though?

According to the report, here are the top ten states for the total number of jobs connected to the arms and ammunition industry:

  1. Texas
  2. California
  3. Florida
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Ohio
  6. Minnesota
  7. North Carolina
  8. Missouri
  9. Illinois
  10. Michigan

And the top 10 for total economic output measured in dollars:

  1. Texas
  2. California
  3. Minnesota
  4. Florida
  5. Illinois
  6. North Carolina
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Massachusetts
  9. New York
  10. Ohio

Jobs in this industry are up 81 percent since 2008 (they totaled 166,200 then), wages are up 137 percent since 2008 (they totaled $6.4 billion then) and economic impact is up 168 percent since 2008 (it totaled $19.1 billion then).

A byproduct of economic activity: taxes.

There were a lot generated in 2016 from this industry.

State and Federal Taxes From U.S. Gun Sales And Manufacturing

State and federal taxes, love them or hate them, exist in today's society.

All political arguments aside, U.S. gun sales and manufacturing have generated a large amount of business and excise taxes.

In 2016, there were $3,843,285,200 in federal business taxes and $2,695,451,100 in state business taxes, totaling over $6.5 billion.

Federal excise taxes totaled $838,059,600 in 2016.

Gun sales are important to America's economy

For reference, in 2016 there were 137,464 federal firearms licensees, according to the ATF.

    For more context, just know that in 2016 there were:
  • 4,458,234 pistols manufactured
  • 856,277 revolvers manufactured
  • 4,227,799 rifles manufactured
  • 791,199 shotguns manufactured
  • 735,824 miscellaneous firearms manufactured

Those numbers are straight from the ATF as well.

Here's an in-depth look at manufacturing statistics in the firearms industry, and another in-depth look at who the modern gun owner is according to statistics.

Federal business taxes raised from the gun industry have risen 156 percent since 2008 ($1.5 billion then as opposed to $3.8 billion in 2016). State business taxes have risen by 107 percent since 2008 ($1.3 billion then as opposed to $2.7 billion in 2016).

Federal excise taxes on this industry were $352 million in 2008, but have risen 138 percent to the previously mentioned $838 million in 2016.

gun blog writer jake smith

About The Author

Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the pacific northwest. He graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in public relations and apparel.