The firearms industry has boomed over the last decade with gun-related jobs nearly doubling and the economic impact of the industry growing more than 150 percent, a new report from an industry group said on Tuesday.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation's newly released report showed the industry's economic impact rose from $19.1 billion in 2008 to $51.4 billion in 2017. That represents a 169 percent increase. At the same time, gun-related jobs grew from an estimated 166,000 to nearly 310,000. An increase of 87 percent.
"Our industry is proud to be one of the truly bright spots in our economy as an unprecedented number of Americans have chosen to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms and to safely enjoy the shooting sports," Stephen L. Sanetti, president and CEO of the trade group, said in a statement. "In response to that dynamic, we have increased our direct workforce by more than 7,000 in the past year alone, adding jobs that pay an average nearly $50,000 in wages and benefits. In addition, since 2008 we increased federal tax payments by 144 percent, Pittman-Robertson excise taxes that support wildlife conservation by 104 percent and state business taxes by 121 percent."
The report said the firearms industry paid a total of $3.9 billion in taxes last year with the bulk coming from $2.9 billion in business taxes and $718 million in excise taxes.
Of the jobs counted in the report, 149,113 were for companies that directly manufacture, distribute, or sell firearms, ammunition, or hunting equipment. The other 161,795 jobs were in supply or ancillary industries.
"Not only does the manufacture and sale of firearms and hunting supplies create good jobs in the United States, but the industry also contributes to the economy as a whole," the report said. "In fact, in 2017 the firearms and ammunition industry was responsible for as much as $51.41 billion in total economic activity in the country. The broader economic impact flows throughout the economy, generating business for firms seemingly unrelated to firearms. Real people, with real jobs, working in industries as varied as banking, retail, accounting, metal working, even in printing, all depend on the firearms and ammunition industry for their livelihood."
The report identified Texas as the state with the most firearms-related jobs and most excise taxes collected as well as the state with the second largest firearms-related economic output, California being the largest. It also found that New Hampshire had the greatest economic output and jobs per capita. Despite strict gun-control laws, New Jersey was identified as the state with the greatest growth in firearms-related jobs and excise taxes.
Though the industry grew at a slower pace relative to previous years, 2017 still saw a 3 percent increase of total jobs from around 301,000 in 2016 to nearly 311,000 in 2017. Similarly, the industry's economic impact rose from $51.3 billion to $51.4 billion despite gun sales declining from 2016's record-breaking pace.
Gun sales have picked up again in the wake of a renewed push for gun control. March 2018 set a new record for the number of gun-related background checks while protesters descended on Washington, D.C., in an effort to enact new bans on AR-15s and institute other strict gun-control measures.