Fueled by the spark of firearms sales the number of people employed in the industry has similarly revved up to tune of nearly 25,000 additional employees over the past two years.
The firearms industry now gainfully employs a total workforce that is just shy of 288,000 people. A good number of these high-paying jobs exist here in Ohio, too.
All figures come from the National Shooting Sports Foundation – the trade association that represents the multi-faceted firearms industry. These numbers are detailed in the organization’s eight-page “Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report 2016.”
Even the news organization CNN was impressed enough to recently publish an on-line business story about the subject.
In its report summation, the National Shooting Sports Foundation notes that nearly 133,000 people are employed directly in the industry with even more people – a shade more than 155,000 – being employed in support businesses.
And these are not minimum wage jobs, either, says the Foundation. The average person employed in the firearms industry collects a paycheck valued at $50,180 annually with a total all-employees’ estimated annual wage package of $14.4 billion.
Even more impressive is the overall estimated annual economic impact to the nation, which is valued at $49.3 billion.
In terms of tax revenue that flows from the worker’s paychecks and the industry’s share of such support, together they turn over $6.2 billion annually in taxes to local, state and federal governments, the Foundation says.
“Our industry is proud to be one of the bright spots in this economy,” the Foundation says in its detailed report.
The Foundation further breaks down the figures on a state-by-state basis. And Ohio does very well for itself, the Foundation says.
In its state-by-state economic impact report segment the Foundation says 11,124 Ohioans are employed directly and indirectly in the firearms industry. That’s good for 6th place in the total number of people employed in the industry on a state by state basis.
These workers earned $369 million in 2014, too; the last year such figures are available.
Perhaps surprisingly increasingly firearms-intolerant California is ranked second in terms of total firearms industry-related employment, only behind firearms-friendly Texas.
Rounding out the remaining Top 10 firearms-related employment states were Florida, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, North Carolina, Illinois, Missouri, and Michigan.
Of course, job growth is directly tied in with firearms sales, and though dips and downturns have occurred so have leaps and bounds.
In 2013 the FBI conducted just over 21 million background checks on prospective firearms buyers. That figure rose to more than 23 million last year, and if the gun-buying trend continues the FBI is projecting it will perform even a greater number of the federal background checks in 2016.
To illustrate this exponential growth in background checks – which translates into people buying firearms – in 1998 (the background check’s first year) a total of 892,840 such reviews were made. That figure exploded to 9.14 million the following year.
And for the first three months of 2016 alone the FBI performed nearly 7.7 million background checks on prospective gun buyers.
Importantly for wildlife management is that the combined federal excise tax paid by all applicable firearms-related business totaled $864 million. This tax revenue stream eventually returns to the states via the Pittman-Robertson Act, which fuels individual states’ wildlife management projects on a cost recoup basis.
All good stuff, reiterates the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“The economic growth America's firearms and ammunition industry has experienced over the years has been nothing short of remarkable,” the Foundation says also in its report.
“Over the past couple of years, the industry's growth has been driven by an unprecedented number of Americans choosing to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms and purchase a firearm and ammunition.”
By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. Jeff is the recipient of more than 125 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.