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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