How Dependent Is Your State on the Gun Industry?

Americans continue to debate whether or not restrictions should be imposed on guns. In the thick of arguments for individuals' rights to own firearms and new state laws restricting them, are many states whose economies rely heavily on the firearms industry.

Guns contributed more than $52 billion to the U.S. economy and generated over $6.8 billion in federal and state taxes in 2018, according to one firearms industry trade association.

Gun crime is a high-profile, political and emotional issue. After the 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed, students traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby for gun laws. Other shootings last year include one at a synagogue in Pittsburgh that took the lives of 11 people, and the Santa Fe High School shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, where eight students and two teachers were killed. These feed the debate on if, or how, firearms should be restricted.

To find out which states rely heaviest on the gun industry, personal finance site WalletHub compared the economic impact of guns on each of the 50 states to determine which among them leans most heavily on the gun business, both directly for jobs and political contributions and indirectly through ownership. WalletHub compared the 50 states across three key dimensions:

- Firearms Industry - this includes metrics such as jobs and wages in the industry, number of firearms and ammunition dealers and manufacturers in the state, excise taxes, and gun laws in the state.

- Gun Prevalence - this includes the gun ownership rate, gun sales and gun advertising

- Gun Politics - this includes gun control and gun rights contributions to Congress, as well as a score assigned to senators based on how they voted on gun bills.

Each state was given a score on these metrics and then ranked from one to 50. Based on WalletHub's study, these are the states that depend most on the firearms industry:

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1. Idaho
1. Idaho

1. Idaho

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 2
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 4
  • Gun Politics Rank: 5

Idaho tops the list as the state most dependent on the gun industry, according to WalletHub's study. The state also has the most firearms industry jobs per capita, tied with New Hampshire and Montana. Taxes paid by the firearms industry (per capita) are fourth highest in Idaho, and the state is third for highest gun ownership.

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2. Alaska
2. Alaska

2. Alaska

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 10
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 3
  • Gun Politics Rank: 1 (tie)

Alaska has the highest gun ownership rate of all 50 states. Delaware has the lowest.

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3. South Dakota
3. South Dakota

3. South Dakota

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 4
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 19
  • Gun Politics Rank: 1 (tie)

South Dakota is fifth in the nation for most firearms industry jobs per capita.

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4. Wyoming
4. Wyoming

4. Wyoming

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 6
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 16
  • Gun Politics Rank: 1 (tie)

Wyoming is fifth in the nation for highest gun ownership rate.

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5. Arkansas
5. Arkansas

5. Arkansas

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 5
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 10
  • Gun Politics Rank: 9

Arkansas ranks No. 2 for highest gun ownership rate.

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6. North Dakota
6. North Dakota

6. North Dakota

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 14
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 15
  • Gun Politics Rank: 1 (tie)

Photo: David Harmantas / Shutterstock

7. Kentucky
7. Kentucky

7. Kentucky

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 26
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 1
  • Gun Politics Rank: 7

Kentucky ties with four other states for the most NICS background checks per capita. The other states are Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia and Idaho.

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8. Oklahoma
8. Oklahoma

8. Oklahoma

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 17
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 9
  • Gun Politics Rank: 8

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9. Montana
9. Montana

9. Montana

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 3
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 8
  • Gun Politics Rank: 25

Montana ties with New Hampshire and Idaho for most firearms industry jobs per capita.

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10. Tennessee
10. Tennessee

10. Tennessee

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 22
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 2
  • Gun Politics Rank: 13

Photo: Shutterstock

11. Kansas
11. Kansas

11. Kansas

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 8
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 17
  • Gun Politics Rank: 14

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12. Alabama
12. Alabama

12. Alabama

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 15
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 6
  • Gun Politics Rank: 20

Photo: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

13. Missouri
13. Missouri

13. Missouri

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 9
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 20
  • Gun Politics Rank: 22

Pictured is a Civil War reenactment at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield in Republic, Missouri.

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14. West Virginia
14. West Virginia

14. West Virginia

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 27
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 7
  • Gun Politics Rank: 19

West Virginia ranks fourth for highest gun ownership rate.

Photo: Shutterstock

15. South Carolina
15. South Carolina

15. South Carolina

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 24
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 12
  • Gun Politics Rank: 11

Photo: Shutterstock

16. Indiana
16. Indiana

16. Indiana

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 18
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 5
  • Gun Politics Rank: 24

Photo: Shutterstock

17. Utah
17. Utah

17. Utah

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 7
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 31
  • Gun Politics Rank: 12

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18. Mississippi
18. Mississippi

18. Mississippi

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 12
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 25
  • Gun Politics Rank: 15

Photo: iStock

19. Nebraska
19. Nebraska

19. Nebraska

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 16
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 41
  • Gun Politics Rank: 6

Photo: Shutterstock

20. North Carolina
20. North Carolina

20. North Carolina

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 30
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 24
  • Gun Politics Rank: 18

Students at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, N.C. participate in a national student walk out in March 2018. The walkout protests lack of government action to prevent gun violence.

Photo: MicheleMidnight / Shutterstock

21. Louisiana
21. Louisiana

21. Louisiana

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 25
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 35
  • Gun Politics Rank: 10

Photo: Ancha Chiangmai / Shutterstock

22. Texas
22. Texas

22. Texas

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 21
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 37
  • Gun Politics Rank: 16

Police process the crime scene at Santa Fe High shortly after the shooting May 18, 2018 in which 10 were killed and 13 wounded in Santa Fe, Texas.

Photo: michelmond / Shutterstock

23. Arizona
23. Arizona

23. Arizona

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 13
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 34
  • Gun Politics Rank: 23

Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

24. Georgia
24. Georgia

24. Georgia

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 31
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 33
  • Gun Politics Rank: 21

Photo: Shutterstock

25. Vermont
25. Vermont

25. Vermont

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 23
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 13
  • Gun Politics Rank: 31

Photo: Shutterstock

26. New Hampshire
26. New Hampshire

26. New Hampshire

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 1
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 23
  • Gun Politics Rank: 47

Photo: Shutterstock

27. Colorado
27. Colorado

27. Colorado

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 29
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 11
  • Gun Politics Rank: 32

Photo: Shutterstock

28. Minnesota
28. Minnesota

28. Minnesota

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 19
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 18
  • Gun Politics Rank: 35

Photo: Jeffrey J Coleman / Shutterstock

29. Ohio
29. Ohio

29. Ohio

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 28
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 28
  • Gun Politics Rank: 26

Photo: Jason Sponseller / Shutterstock

30. Iowa
30. Iowa

30. Iowa

  • Firearms Industry Rank: 42
  • Gun Prevalence Rank: 38
  • Gun Politics Rank: 17

A cluster of New England states and Hawaii are at the bottom of the list: New Jersey is least dependent on the gun industry, followed by Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, then Hawaii.

Read more about WalletHub's methodology for this study.

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