The firearm industry isn’t considered to be as big a factor in American economics as, say, the auto industry or Silicon Valley. It’s thought of as a niche market with little influence on the economy.
While it’s not likely to become a driving force in the American business world, we now have a glimpse as to just how important shooting is to the economy.
A just-released “Target Shooting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation” report [PDF] from Southwick Associates estimates U.S. target shooters pay $14 million a day in taxes—enough in state and local levies throughout the year to fully underwrite the employment of 46,000 firefighters. “The total $16.9 billion spent on target shooting adds $19.5 billion to our country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These expenditures provide for 329,000 jobs and generate $2.9 billion in federal tax revenues and $2.3 billion in state and local taxes,” it explains. Total daily economic impact is $46 million.
The study found participation in the sport is up 28 percent since 2001, with more than 50 million taking aim at a target at least once a year. Twenty million of those enthusiasts spend an average of 20 days annually at the firing line. “More people participate in target shooting than play tennis, soccer or baseball,” it states. Female participation has increased 81 percent in the same period.
Handgun shooting is the most popular discipline, coming in at 13.8 million enthusiasts. Rifles run a distant second place with 12.2 million, 10 million prefer the shotgun sports and 3.3 million front stuff their muzzleloaders.
Now, keep in mind that this is just target shooting. It doesn’t touch on hunting or self-defense spending.
Let’s be clear, $16.9 billion to the economy is nothing to sneeze at. While the disappearance of the target shooting industry won’t destroy the country’s economy, it would put a strain on it as those employed by the industry are no longer able to spend. Unless the economy is particularly robust, it could well be enough to spark deeper economic troubles.
In other words, we need the shooting industry.
Couple target shooting with other aspects of the gun industry and you can see the importance of shooting.
This is what some people want to destroy. This is the economic hit this country would take just because some people have an unreasonable fear of armed law-abiding citizens. They would crush billions of dollars of revenue, numerous jobs, and eliminate millions in tax revenues for countless communities, all because they find guns icky.
Because, seriously, that’s what all of this anti-gun nonsense is about.
It’s ultimately about a group taking issue with law-abiding citizens having the means to defend themselves or enjoying themselves and that group not liking it. They can claim it’s about crime or school shootings or the rabid prairie dog population in Denver, Colorado for all I care, but it’s not. Anyone with half a brain will see that the only parties impacted by these laws are the law-abiding. Criminals will continue to act as they do. Mass shooters will, at most, decide to run over people with vans. Little will change on that front.
But we, the law-abiding gun owners, will be hit. So will the thousands of people employed who provide us with goods and services.