Oklahoma tries to attract the gun industry with the nation's first Bachelor's degree in gunsmithing

Oklahoma tries to attract the gun industry with the nation's first Bachelor's degree in gunsmithing
AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File

The firearms industry has been scrambling to get out of their traditional base in the Northeast to avoid legislative and regulatory harassment because they’re not welcome in many of their home states anymore. Where they end up is up for grabs. While some states are trying to attract them with traditional tax incentives, Oklahoma is also attempting a non-traditional incentive (archived links):


Oklahoma school to offer nation’s first bachelor’s in gunsmithing

State officials could have a new weapon in their arsenal as they try to lure gun and ammunition manufacturers to Oklahoma.

Murray State College leaders say the school’s gunsmithing program could become a huge economic development driver thanks to a $10 million legislative investment that will allow the college to offer the nation’s first bachelor’s degree in gunsmithing.

With backing from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, campus officials approached lawmakers in the spring with a pitch that expanding the school’s gunsmithing program to offer four-year degrees could turn Oklahoma into a hub for gun businesses and manufacturing.


‘Major shift toward embracing modern technology’

Murray State College has offered a gunsmithing program since 1979. Annually, the school admits 30 students to its two-year degree program at its Tishomingo campus.

By offering a bachelor’s degree in gunsmithing, the college could admit more students and offer training on industry trends, campus officials said. 

“Gunsmithing is a very old profession, but we’re seeing a major shift toward embracing modern technology,” said Chad Mercer, Murray State’s gunsmithing program chair. “The industry’s been begging for students to come out of here with some higher, more technical knowledge.”

The two-year program teaches students how to customize guns, in addition to the fundamentals of firearms design and repair. But Mercer said the bachelor’s degree curriculum will be crafted with the needs of the firearms industry in mind as gun-makers are increasingly seeking graduates with digital skills in areas like 3-D printing and laser welding. 


“I can place 100% of my students if they’re willing to move,” Mercer said. “There’s a demand out there.” […] Faltyn hopes recruiting additional firearm companies to Oklahoma keep more program graduates close to home.


At a fundamental level, I don’t support government involvement in education at all and would like to see a world in which there’s a complete Separation of School and State, whether it’s K-12 or Higher Ed. Once the government gets involved, I see it as only a matter of time before taxpayer money is hijacked to distract from the original mission and intent, resulting in typical bureaucratic bloat and the pushing of garbage ideologies in schools. Tuition inflation is also an inevitability when the government replaces the customer as the responsible party for cutting tuition checks. (For a shocking chart of educational spending vs. outcomes, click here.) There’s also evidence that taxpayer-funded educational institutions somehow end up lurching further and further left.

I have voiced my concerns about this in the past. To reiterate, if the conservative half of the taxpaying public must foot the bill for educational institutions, it’s only fair that their concerns aren’t elbowed out of those institutions, and subjects such as comprehensive gun education is given fair treatment, whether the anti-Second Amendment crowd likes it or not.

“There’s a lot of fear around guns,” said Faltyn, the college president. “We want to be a national example of safe and responsible gun ownership and operation for the country because there’s an industry there that’s important. It’s part of our history and I think it’s part of our future.”


The intent of the program is good. Setting aside the broader concerns, this is a good step towards chipping away at the anti-Second Amendment hegemonic views of academia and the mainstreaming of firearms education. I’ll take that win.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member