By Travis Pike
We often talk about firearms and gun control as a rights issue. We do this for good reason, the right to keep and bear arms in an American right enshrined in our founding document. We fight tooth and nail for our ability to own firearms and standard accessories like bayonet lugs. We fight tooth and nail to own magazines that hold eleven plus rounds. We fight tooth and nail because it’s our right. There is another side of the coin though, another reason to fight. While maintaining our right to keep and bear arms is the most important thing, there are other critical components to gun ownership that affect our nation. These are mainly what the gun industry does for the county economically . . .
First and foremost before we dive headfirst into this piece I will be the first to admit that gun businesses would not go out of business over some specific laws. Universal background checks won’t shutter the doors. However, as we’ve all seen the endgame isn’t UBCs, or assault weapons bans, or licensing, or insurance, so on and so forth. We know the endgame for progressives and the house of D, and some folks aren’t afraid of bragging that their endgame is.
“Mr. and Mrs. America turn ’em all in.”
If we had the gun laws of most of Europe we would be looking at some economic consequences. The police and military do make up a large portion of firearm sales, but why do they have multiple options? Because civilian sales fuel innovation, look no further than the explosion in concealed carry firearms. Police and Militaries aren’t buying many Ruger LCPs, or S&W J frames.
Some companies may do okay without civilian sales, but as Colt has proven a company can’t rely on military contracts for it’s entirety.
Democrats claim to support, labor, jobs, and industry. A big talking point of Democrats in 2016 is the evil corporations sending jobs overseas, low wages, and bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States. Well, maybe this wouldn’t such a worry if they weren’t constantly trying to kill American jobs in the gun industry.
Let’s look at the gun industry by the numbers:
Jobs – 287,986 full time equivalent employees. (Gasp! Some of these are union jobs! Something the Dems ignore.)
Average Wage and Benefits – $50,180
These numbers come from John Dunham and Associates, and claims to take into account ammunition production, holsters, scopes etc. The average wage of these employees is according to the NSSF’s Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report. The gun industry employs twice as many employees as GM, which President Obama once called, “A pillar of our economy.”
Magpul employees roughly 200 people. How many of those would lose jobs if a magazine ban was implemented? Just one lost job is too many in my opinion. We know people would lose jobs, because they did in Colorado when Magpul left due to new Colorado gun laws.
A lot of firearms production isn’t automated, so it requires skilled workers in many different roles. These are full time American jobs, with benefits, in an industry that has been growing every year. According to the NSSF, firearms jobs have grown by 73 percent since 2008. Wages have increased a 126% in the same time frame.
In 2015 the firearm’s industry, and industry’s related to it generated almost 50 billion is economic activity. When you combine federal, and state taxes you get over 6.2 billion dollars in tax revenue. I’m curious how much of that tax revenue goes to anti gun programs.
Support Small Business
The industry isn’t where the benefits or gun ownership and gun culture end. First and foremost let’s go back to the Democrats hating on corporations. How many corporate gun stores are there?
I had a hard time finding an actual breakdown of FFLS, with the closest accurate numbers I could verify being from 2012, and gun retailers sat 50,812. The rest of the FFLs out there are not involved in retail firearm sales, or are small home based FFLs. Of that 50,000 the largest retailer is Wal Mart with approximately 4,800 locations. Other big box retailers include Gander Mountain at 115 locations, Bass Pro with 94 locations, Academy with over 200 (Website is vague) and Sportsman’s Warehouse has 61. This adds up to approximately 5200 locations.
These numbers don’t cover all big box gun dealers, but surely it covers most of the National chains. That still leaves well over 40,000 locations. The vast majority of which are small, local gun stores. These small gun stores employ people locally and allow entrepreneurs to succeed. My local gun store is a small operation that employs 4 full time workers, and beats Wal Mart is price and selection 99% of the time. (Shout out to Big Bend Outfitters in Perry FL.)
Democrats are supposed to support small business, and oppose those evil corporations. But how is that possible when they aggressively pursue gun control?
We of course have Hillary Clinton, and her legion of supporters wanting to sue gun manufacturers, gun stores, and ammunition sellers out of existence. This is an attack of the economic prosperity of citizens of the United States. This is an attack on businesses both large and small.
The Great Outdoors
So stepping away from the industry as a whole, we look at some other programs firearms contribute too. Do you like wolves? Maybe think it’s cool that we are working hard to bring wolf populations back? Well, thank a gun owner.
At the manufacturers level there is a federal excise tax which I didn’t mention in total taxes paid. I’m generally opposed to such taxes, but regardless of my feelings, the tax does fund programs that the blueside typically loves. Like bringing the wolf numbers up, and natural conservation efforts. According to the Duluth News Tribune the federal excise tax on guns is supporting three quarters of the costs associated with wolf research in Minnesota.
Jim Hodgson, regional chief of wildlife and sport fish restoration for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says, “The level of gun and ammunition sales we’ve seen in recent years, which we’ve never had before, has been a real boost to state wildlife agencies and to wildlife habitat and restoration across the country,” (Quote attributed to Duluth News Tribune)
This money raised in 2015 was over 676 million dollars. It’s going to fund projects around nature conservation. The Dems may claim to support these programs, but gun owners have literally put their money where their mouth is. I’m not even touching hunting licenses and the costs those raise for conservation. (750 million in Federal duck stamps alone in 2015)
If the anti gunners got their way, where would that leave us? It would economically leave us in a bigger hole than we already are. Jobs would be gone. Conservation efforts would be significantly underfunded. Do you know who should lose jobs when gun freedom is challenged?
The challengers, like those fine folks who were able to pull anti gunners out of their seats in Colorado. Gun rights are incredibly important just because they are our rights, but it’s important to remember they are also an economic powerhouse for the United States.
A pillar if you will.