Arms Industry in the US: How Much Does It Contribute to the Economy?

Published May 25th, 2022 - 12:15 GMT
US arms industry
Frequent mass shootings in the US have been igniting conversations over the country's policy towards arms. (Shutterstock: FellowNeko)

Repeated incidents of gun violence in the United States keep reigniting debates over the country's policies in addition to the arms industry's contribution to the world's largest economy.

Following every tragic mass shooting in the United States, questions over the arms industry in the country resurface by experts who attempt to examine whether or not the profit made by the industry justifies the thousands of lives ended in the US every year. 

According to 2021 figures, Americans purchased more than 18 million guns, which makes last year one of the busiest years in terms of firearms sales during the last 20 years. 2020 recorded the highest sales in US history with 23 million guns, which was a historic annual increase of 65%, compared to pre-pandemic sales.

These spikes in gun sales were accompanied by a 50% rise in active shooter incidents in 2021 across the country leads us to take a look at the financial value of this market.

61% of 25 of the world's largest arms manufacturers are American companies. 

A report released last April by SGB Media shows that sales of firearms and guns in the United States have grown by 269% between the years 2008 and 2022, making the once $19.1 billion industry worth more than $70 billion.

Source2022 annual Firearm and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report

Firearms manufacturers also keep more than 375,819 Americans in the job market, most of which are in Texas, California, and Florida. 

Moreover, the report notes that the tax-paying gun industry supports the US economy with $7.85 billion, through the property, income, and sales-based levies. It consequently has major impacts on several other economic sectors in the US, including banks, retail, accounting, and others.

Such figures are often used by pro-gun associations and advocates to justify their work to keep firearms in easy reach for all Americans, usually citing their constitutional right to bear arms as the one reason they refrain from supporting laws aimed to impose strict gun control.

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