Gun Laws & Legislation

Firearms Industry Helps Lead Economic Recovery

Mike Piccione Editor, Guns & Gear
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New Study Shows Growth in Jobs, Taxes Paid and Sales

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a breakfast briefing earlier today, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, released a newly commissioned report detailing double-digit gains in jobs and other data showing the industry has been a leader in the nation’s economic recovery. The report can be viewed at

Firearms industry members were briefed on such remarkable statistics as the 30.6 percent increase in jobs between 2008 and 2011, a 66.5 percent increase in economic impact and a 66.5 percent increase in federal taxes paid by industry companies. Armed with the good news of the report and recognizing that jobs and the economy are of major importance in the November elections, industry executives were scheduled to meet with elected officials during the NSSF-sponsored Congressional Fly-In on Thursday.

“During difficult economic times and high unemployment rates nationally, our industry actually grew and created more than ten thousand new, well-paying jobs,” said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. “Our industry is proud to be one of the bright spots in this economy.”

Key Points: Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact
                                           2008                                  2011                      % Change
Direct Jobs                    75,600                                      98,750                            30.6%
Total Jobs                           166,200                                   209,750                    26.2%
Econ Impact                   $19,128,934,700        $31,838,799,400                    66.5%

Key Points: Taxes

                                            2008                               2011                          % Change

Federal Taxes        $1,503,740,470      $2,503,904,400                    66.5%

State Taxes                 $1,299,088,680       $2,071,203,430                    59.4%
Excise Taxes
                   $351,540,010            $487,998,106                    38.8%

The firearms industry has stood apart from other industries by thriving in a down economy. Indicators such as background-check statistics, firearms production and importation, firearm-retailer surveys and on-the-ground reports from retailers nationwide reveal that Americans are purchasing firearms in record numbers. For example, federal background checks for March totaled nearly 1.2 million in adjusted figures, representing an increase of 20 percent over a year ago and the 22nd straight month-over-month increase. (NSSF adjusts figures from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to remove purpose-code checks associated concealed carry applications and permits. Though not a direct correlation to firearm sales, adjusted NICS figures provide a more accurate picture of market conditions.)

This year’s robust sales are a continuation of the economic growth the firearms and ammunition industry experienced last year that was driven by an unprecedented number of Americans choosing to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms and purchase a firearm and ammunition.  This increase in firearms ownership coincided with the continued decline in accidental firearm-related fatalities—a more than a 60 percent decrease in the last 20 years—and a continued drop in crime rates nationally.

Also cited in the economic impact report were the significant taxes paid by industry member companies to federal and state governments and the Pittman-Robertson excise tax the industry pays on the products it sells. The latter tax is the major source of wildlife conservation funding in America.

“Last year our industry increased its contribution to wildlife conservation by over seven percent, which translates into sportsmen contributing more than 1.3 million dollars daily to conservation efforts,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane.

“Ours is an industry with a rich history and heritage that remains vital and important to the American economy today,” continued Keane. “To millions of Americans our industry’s products represent liberty, security and recreation. We look forward to speaking with members of Congress today about important legislative and regulatory issues that will allow our industry members to continue to grow their businesses and create even more new jobs in their communities.”

 About NSSF

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 7,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to