Magpul, Hi-Vis, and Weatherby made headlines in recent months after moving from less gun-friendly states to Wyoming, but these companies may be the exception rather than the rule.
A new breakdown from HowMuch.net indicates that a state’s pro-gun policies do not always translate to a more robust gun industry. HowMuch.net analyzed job totals and average wages from data collected from the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report from 2017 to get a snapshot of the size of the industry in each state.
They found that while pro-gun states like Texas ($8.83B) boast a large firearms industry that employs thousands of people, states with stricter firearms regulations like California ($3.64B), Minnesota ($2.43B), Illinois ($2.18B), and Massachusetts ($1.86B) also incorporate relatively large gun industries.
On the other end of the spectrum, Hawaii ($39M), Delaware ($40M), Rhode Island ($97M), and Vermont ($0.1B) employ only a small number of gun makers and sellers, but the same can be said for New Mexico ($0.13B), Nevada ($0.4B) and Oklahoma ($0.51B).
Here are the top-ten states:
- Texas: $3.83B and 23,070 jobs
- California: $3.64B and 20,610 jobs
- Minnesota: $2.43B and 11,650 jobs
- Florida: $2.39B and 14,850 jobs
- Illinois: $2.18B and 10,681 jobs
- North Carolina: $1.98B and 11,427 jobs
- Pennsylvania: $1.94B and 12,436 jobs
- Massachusetts: $1.86B and 7,116 jobs
- New York: $1.84B and 8020 jobs
- Ohio: $1.61B and 11,772 jobs
The weakness with this analysis, of course, is that it does not correct for population size. California employs a huge number people in the firearms industry because a huge number of people live in the Golden State.
Take Massachusetts and Oklahoma, for example. The size of the gun industry in Massachusetts is surprising as compared to the Sooner State, but approximately 6.9 million people live in Massachusetts while only 3.9 million people live in Oklahoma. The firearms industry doesn’t exactly correspond to population size—Massachusetts’ industry is three times larger than Oklahoma’s with only double the population—but adjusting for the number of residents in each state would make the data clearer.
Still, given Slide Fire’s recent forced shut down, it is notable that gun makers can survive at all in states like New York, California, and Massachusetts. Attacking firearm makers and sellers is one of the most common anti-gun tactics, but some companies still manage to scrape by despite increasing regulations and public hostility.
It will be interesting to see how many can hang on before following Weatherby’s lead.