Gun Industry Contributes $51.3B to Economic Growth

Rachel Y
by Rachel Y
Economic Growth Impact of Firearms Industry by State. Source:

Whether employment opportunities, taxes, manufacturing, gun sales, or all points in between – there is little doubt that the firearms industry contributes significantly to the economic growth of the United States. In fact, a recent report compiled by the National Shooting Sports Foundation estimated that the Firearms Industry contributed $51.3B to the US economy in 2017. That’s a 169% increase since 2008.

It’s not that hard to fathom, really. For example, SHOT Show 2013 brought in $73.1M in revenue to the city of Las Vegas in 2013 (Source: NSSF). According to the same report from NSSF, in 2017 the firearms industry (including ammunition manufacturers) was responsible for creating over $15B in paid wages (a 142% increase) and created over 310,000 jobs in 2017 (an 87% increase since 2008). On July 13, 2016, TFB reported that Texas-based Silencershop sent in almost $2M in NFA tax stamps alone (the largest single-day filing in ATF history).

Here are a handful of states of particular interest, as reported by the NSSF:

TennesseeTotal gun industry-related economic output: $1,028,454,200 –

Only 20 states top the “billion dollar” threshhold as far as economic output – Tennessee is one of them. Tennessee has seen economic growth thanks to the recent relocation of Beretta, SCCY, and other manufacturers who join Barrett, Lucky Gunner, FJ Feddersen, Volunteer Aerospace, and other firearms/ammunition manufacturers in the Volunteer state.

Georgia2017 total gun industry-related economic output: $1,187,490,600 –

Almost 7,500 residents in Georgia are employed due to the firearms industry with the average worker bringing in almost $45k per year in wages and benefits. Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC), Daniel Defense, Remington Arms headquarters, and several other manufacturers contribute to Georgia’s economic growth.

Arkansas2017 total gun industry-related economic output: $1,231,192,700 –

Arkansas boasts being one of the top 10 states for economic output per capita and is also one of the biggest states for hiring in the firearms industry. Remington has a large ammunition plant just outside of Little Rock. Wilson Combat is also based in Arkansas.

Connecticut2017 total gun industry-related economic output: $1,245,480,500 –

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, Ammunition Storage Components, and Colt, and several other major manufacturers are located in Connecticut. As a result, Connecticut ranks in the top 10 for economic output from the firearms industry per capita.

Illinois2017 total gun industry-related economic output: $2,183,774,100 –

Boasting some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, it’s surprising that Illinois is one of only 5 states to top $2B for economic output in an industry that many lawmakers seem to oppose. Also surprising is the number of jobs created by the gun industry in the state, ranking it among the Top 10 for total jobs. Armalite, Lewis Machine & Tool, Rock River Arms, and Springfield Armory are just a few firearms manufacturers located in Illinois.

California2017 total gun industry-related economic output: $3,635,779,700 –

Only 2 states broke the $3B threshhold for total economic output. Part of that has to do with the volume of citizens who reside in the state. As a result, California is second for total jobs created in the firearms industry. FMK Firearms, EP Lowers, and Weatherby all reside in California. (Although Weatherby announced at SHOT Show 2018 that they were moving to Wyoming.)

Click here to see how your state is impacted by the firearms industry.

There was no mention in the report whether the surge in recent concealed carry permit applications contributed to the numbers reported, or whether they were classified in a different area and not counted in this particular report.

The firearms industry has been responsible for tremendous economic growth in previous years. Regardless of the circumstances behind that financial upswing, little argument can be given to disprove the fact that job growth, state and federal tax dollars, plus a host of other secondary economic opportunities (hunting permits and conservation efforts, for example) have come about as a result of firearms, ammunition, and the manufacturing processes built on American soil.

Rachel Y
Rachel Y

Rachel Young is a 4x Best Selling Author. She and her husband John co-own an FFL/SOT showroom and machine shop in Tennessee, specializing in ARs, AR parts, and AR accessories.

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  • Tony Tony on May 21, 2018

    Unless these fire arms are all for export, actual contribution to domestic economic growth is limited. In essence people are spending money in one sector that could have been used elsewhere.

    • Sharp Sharp on May 23, 2018

      @tony You'd fail econ 101. We'll maybe you would pass it in the former Soviet Union.

      a) You are ignoring that people who are motivated to spend by a need or interest, typically then will be more productive in their work creating the economic means to satisfy the need/interest/want.
      b) Guns are used by civilians in the US to prevent about 2.5 million crimes every year. This is a huge, well massive, reduction in crime cost to society.

  • Voice from East Voice from East on May 22, 2018

    So, 51.3bln gun industry holds 310k employees. For example, some corp like Home Depot has 100bln in revenue and 400k employees. Where's sinister "gun lobby" takes so much extra money to buy whole congress?...

    • See 3 previous
    • Voice from East Voice from East on May 23, 2018

      @Sharp Wow, wicked...
      Btw - I put quotation marks on "gun lobby" for a reason, it's a farce indeed.