Armed and prosperous: Wyoming ranks 4th most dependent state on gun industry

WYOMING – It’s no secret Wyoming loves its guns. The state ranks at or near the top of most every list concerning gun ownership, for instance. But how dependent is the Cowboy State on the firearm industry?

Weatherby relocated to Wyoming last year after 70 years based in California. (Weatherby)

A new study out this week found Wyoming is the 4th most dependent state on the gun industry.

The state has always attracted firearms manufacturers and related companies in the industry. Gunwerks, Wyoming Armory, and Freedom Arms build firearms in Burlington, Cody, and Freedom, respectively. And last year, legendary Weatherby moved its headquarters and plant to Sheridan, Wyoming after 70 years in California.

With gun sales still in decline since President Donald Trump took office and with new gun laws taking effect this year such as a federal ban on “bump stocks,” the personal-finance website WalletHub this week released its report on 2019’s States Most Dependent on the Gun Industry. 

To determine the states that depend most heavily on the arms and ammunitions industry both directly for jobs and political contributions and indirectly through firearm ownership, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 17 key metrics. The data set ranges from firearms industry jobs per capita to gun sales per 1,000 residents to gun ownership rate.

Wyoming has always been supportive of the firearm industry and economically dependent on it to some degree. (Freedom Arms)

Wyoming’s Dependence on the Gun Industry (1=Most Dependent; 25=Avg.)

  • 5th – Gun Ownership Rate
  • 4th – Firearms-Industry Jobs per Capita
  • 11th – Total Firearms-Industry Output per Capita
  • 1st – Total Taxes Paid by Firearms Industry per Capita
  • 11th – NICS Background Checks per Capita
  • 1st – Gun-Control Contributions to Congressional Members per Capita
  • 1st – Gun-Rights Contributions to Congressional Members per Capita

Gun sales have been down since Donald Trump won the White House, with a 6.1 percent decline in 2018 alone. And while that’s good news to some, it could be a bad sign for state economies relying heavily on the firearms industry. By one estimate, guns contributed more than $52 billion to the U.S. economy and generated over $6.8 billion in federal and state taxes in 2018.

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