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Which States Are Most Dependent on the Gun Industry?

A new report ranks states' economic reliance on firearms, taking into account jobs, sales and political contributions.

march guns
Demonstrators gathered during the March for Our Lives protest for gun legislation and school safety outside city hall in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(AP/John Minchillo)
Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched this weekend in cities across the U.S. and in other countries in support of stricter gun control regulations. 

Such restrictions would affect different states in different ways.

Idaho is the state that's most dependent on the gun industry, according to a new report. The economies of four other Western states -- Montana, Alaska, South Dakota and Wyoming -- are also more dependent on guns than other places.

The report, released last week from the personal finance website WalletHub, measured the economic impact of the gun industry on each of the 50 states. Each state was assessed in terms of firearm industry jobs and wages; "gun prevalence," including gun ownership rates and sales; and "gun politics," including political contributions to members of Congress and other factors.

"Gun sales are down since Donald Trump won the White House," the report said. "And while that's good news to some, it could be a bad sign for state economies relying heavily on the firearms industry."

Guns are a $51 billion-a-year industry in the United States, according to one trade estimate, and accounted for more than $6.5 billion in federal and state taxes last year.


Source: WalletHub
Just in terms of gun prevalence, which tallied gun ownership, gun advertising and Google searches for firearms, Kentucky ranked No. 1 in the WalletHub report. South Dakota, meanwhile, was ranked as the single most politically friendly state to firearms.

Connecticut, which ranked near the bottom of the report overall, nonetheless has the highest average salary for jobs in the firearms industry. The state was once home to some of the top gun manufacturers in the country and was the birthplace of several innovations in firearms technology. But today it has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation and is now considering cutting the NRA out of its role in training new gun permit applicants.

New York, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Maryland were the states whose economies were least dependent on guns, according to the report.

In the weeks since the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., a number of states have considered measures that could put restrictions on the gun industry, including raising the minimum age required to purchase a gun and outlawing certain types of firearms altogether. A few large chains, including Dick's Sporting Goods and Kroger's Fred Meyer stores, have announced they will no longer sell assault weapons or, in Kroger's case, any guns at all.

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