by John M. Buol Jr.

That is the total influence the Firearms and Ammunition Industry had within the United States in 2009 according to a report commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation detailing the significant, positive economic impact we have on our nation. In the midst of a recession, stock market crash and housing crisis our modest little industry actually prospered. In fact it better than that as the report found the shooting industry increased from the 2008 estimates of $19.2 billion, an increase of eight BILLION dollars!

The economic growth America’s firearms and ammunition industry experienced last year 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. Said NSSF President Steve Sanetti, “During difficult economic times and high unemployment rates nationally, our industry actually grew and created 16,800 new, well-paying jobs. Our industry is proud to be one of the bright spots in this economy.” I think we can account for this due to the fact that shooting sports aren’t terribly expensive and they give a unique experience. Firearm use is an active, participatory activity. And let’s face it, guns are just a whole bunch of fun. Hollywood wouldn’t continue making lousy action movies if people truly hated them.

Also cited in the economic impact report were the significant taxes paid by industry member companies to federal and state governments along with the Pittman-Robertson excise tax the industry pays on the products it sells. This tax is the major source of wildlife conservation funding in America. In 2009, over $2.7 billion dollars went to fund these programs. This translates to sportsmen nationwide generating $7.5 million dollars every day for wildlife conservation efforts alone, just by doing what we love. $7.5 million per day! Hmmm, I wonder how much PETA and other so-called animal rights groups are kicking in?

Despite the surge in new owners, America is seeing a continued decline in accidental firearm-related deaths, a more than sixty percent decrease in the last twenty years, along with a continued drop in crime rates nationally. I’m sure this fact won’t get in the way of firearm abolitionists but it is reassuring for most sane people. Of real importance to us is what to do with them. A firearm in the hands of an untrained person is a potential nuisance or worse. While it is encouraging that the industry is enjoying a surge in sales, this will only last as long as we are able to maintain that enthusiasm and interest.

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