Special Report

States Where the Government Is Profiting the Most From Gun Sales

America’s gun industry is booming. More than 11.3 million firearms were manufactured in the United States in 2020, more than double the 5.6 million produced in 2010, and nearly triple the 3.9 million guns manufactured in 2000. Surging demand for firearms has been a boon not only for the balance sheets of American gun makers, but also government coffers. 

Between sporting arms and ammunition companies and supporting sectors, the American firearm industry generated $70.5 billion in economic output in 2021, according to the advocacy group The Firearm Industry Trade Association. The federal government also levied $4.6 billion in business taxes from the gun industry in 2021, up 84% from a decade earlier. 

Using data from the 2022 Firearm and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where the federal government is profiting the most from gun sales. States are ranked by 2021 federal business tax revenue from the firearm industry on a per capita basis. Per capita figures were calculated using population data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey. We also considered FBI firearm background checks in 2021 as a proxy for gun sales.

Across the 50 states, 2021 federal tax revenue the gun industry generated ranges from about $3 per person in Delaware to nearly $150 per person in New Hampshire. Not surprisingly, states where firearms generate the most tax revenue are often home to the operations of many of the biggest companies in the industry. Sig Sauer, for example, is headquartered in New Hampshire. Ruger also has a major manufacturing plant in the state. Combined, the two companies account for nearly 25% of all domestic firearm production. (Here is a look at the states with the most gun purchases per person.)

The firearm industry’s footprint in each state is partially reflected in employment figures. In 14 of the 15 highest ranking states on this list, per capita employment in the firearm industry is also among the top 15 states in the country. (Here is a look at the 22 states where gun sales are rebounding.)

Click here to see states where the government is profiting the most from gun sales.

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