States with the biggest gun industries

In 1934, Congress ratified the National Firearms Act, legislation requiring guns to be registered and taxed. On the surface, the act’s goal was to take a cut of the money the burgeoning industry was bringing in. But there was also a secondary motive: to restrict the sale of guns, subsequently being used in crimes, by charging gun buyers a $200 fee.

In the decades since, the NFA has essentially remained unchanged. Many still look to it as a way for the United States to regulate how many guns make it to the market and into citizens’ hands.

While the NFA’s creators undoubtedly designed it to check on the gun industry’s growth, it has, unfortunately, failed to do so. This is partly because the $200 tax has never gone up, and while that fee was once prohibitive, many people can afford the one-time payment today. The significance of the gun industry, fueled by an ever-increasing demand for guns, has only intensified in the decades since Congress ratified the act.

An estimated 393 million firearms are presently in private ownership in the U.S.—that’s more guns than the country’s entire population. In 2016, the U.S. manufactured an all-time high of 11.49 million firearms. This figure has decreased in the intervening years (to roughly 7 million), yet it remains more than twice that of 1986. Firearm imports have also increased, with Turkey, Austria, and Brazil sending upwards of 3.78 million guns to the U.S. in 2020 alone.

Gun ownership and industry, like gun culture itself, vary. The degree to which the gun industry is entrenched in a given state is not merely a matter of how many firearms people purchase. It also has to do with the number of dealers and if manufacturing occurs in the state.

Stacker analyzed firearms commerce data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to rank states based on their total number of tax-paying occupational entities related to the manufacturing and distribution of firearms. In short, this data allows us to see which states have the most gun owners and largest gun industries.

Read on to see where your state falls in the rankings.

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#50. Washington DC (tie)

– Total weapons industry entities: 1
— Manufacturers: 0
— Dealers: 0
— Importers: 1
– Registered weapons: 74,315 (110.9 per 1K residents, #2 overall)

#50. Hawaii (tie)

– Total weapons industry entities: 1
— Manufacturers: 0
— Dealers: 1
— Importers: 0
– Registered weapons: 9,280 (6.4 per 1K residents, #48 overall)

#49. Rhode Island

– Total weapons industry entities: 2
— Manufacturers: 0
— Dealers: 1
— Importers: 1
– Registered weapons: 4,887 (4.5 per 1K residents, #51 overall)

#48. Delaware

– Total weapons industry entities: 3
— Manufacturers: 0
— Dealers: 3
— Importers: 0
– Registered weapons: 6,092 (6.1 per 1K residents, #49 overall)

#47. New Jersey

– Total weapons industry entities: 29
— Manufacturers: 7
— Dealers: 21
— Importers: 1
– Registered weapons: 102,228 (11.0 per 1K residents, #44 overall)

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#46. Vermont

– Total weapons industry entities: 101
— Manufacturers: 26
— Dealers: 71
— Importers: 4
– Registered weapons: 9,451 (14.6 per 1K residents, #42 overall)

#45. New York

– Total weapons industry entities: 114
— Manufacturers: 91
— Dealers: 19
— Importers: 4
– Registered weapons: 92,191 (4.6 per 1K residents, #50 overall)

#44. North Dakota

– Total weapons industry entities: 134
— Manufacturers: 14
— Dealers: 119
— Importers: 1
– Registered weapons: 30,975 (40.0 per 1K residents, #9 overall)

#43. Illinois

– Total weapons industry entities: 144
— Manufacturers: 96
— Dealers: 37
— Importers: 11
– Registered weapons: 144,749 (11.4 per 1K residents, #43 overall)

#41. Alaska (tie)

– Total weapons industry entities: 146
— Manufacturers: 33
— Dealers: 112
— Importers: 1
– Registered weapons: 28,237 (38.5 per 1K residents, #11 overall)

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#41. Maine (tie)

– Total weapons industry entities: 146
— Manufacturers: 48
— Dealers: 95
— Importers: 3
– Registered weapons: 21,396 (15.6 per 1K residents, #41 overall)

#40. Massachusetts

– Total weapons industry entities: 150
— Manufacturers: 118
— Dealers: 27
— Importers: 5
– Registered weapons: 45,138 (6.5 per 1K residents, #47 overall)

#39. South Dakota

– Total weapons industry entities: 162
— Manufacturers: 31
— Dealers: 131
— Importers: 0
– Registered weapons: 64,666 (72.2 per 1K residents, #3 overall)

#38. Nebraska

– Total weapons industry entities: 165
— Manufacturers: 33
— Dealers: 132
— Importers: 0
– Registered weapons: 43,261 (22.0 per 1K residents, #32 overall)

#37. Wyoming

– Total weapons industry entities: 168
— Manufacturers: 47
— Dealers: 119
— Importers: 2
– Registered weapons: 142,247 (245.8 per 1K residents, #1 overall)

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#36. West Virginia

– Total weapons industry entities: 190
— Manufacturers: 43
— Dealers: 140
— Importers: 7
– Registered weapons: 50,963 (28.6 per 1K residents, #18 overall)

#35. Connecticut

– Total weapons industry entities: 205
— Manufacturers: 88
— Dealers: 114
— Importers: 3
– Registered weapons: 74,874 (20.8 per 1K residents, #36 overall)

#34. New Mexico

– Total weapons industry entities: 213
— Manufacturers: 70
— Dealers: 133
— Importers: 10
– Registered weapons: 122,968 (58.1 per 1K residents, #4 overall)

#33. California

– Total weapons industry entities: 222
— Manufacturers: 122
— Dealers: 86
— Importers: 14
– Registered weapons: 406,360 (10.4 per 1K residents, #46 overall)

#32. Montana

– Total weapons industry entities: 224
— Manufacturers: 72
— Dealers: 148
— Importers: 4
– Registered weapons: 36,678 (33.2 per 1K residents, #16 overall)

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#31. New Hampshire

– Total weapons industry entities: 228
— Manufacturers: 101
— Dealers: 121
— Importers: 6
– Registered weapons: 72,433 (52.1 per 1K residents, #5 overall)

#30. Maryland

– Total weapons industry entities: 237
— Manufacturers: 77
— Dealers: 152
— Importers: 800
– Registered weapons: 136,257 (22.1 per 1K residents, #31 overall)

#29. Mississippi

– Total weapons industry entities: 260
— Manufacturers: 77
— Dealers: 172
— Importers: 11
– Registered weapons: 80,712 (27.4 per 1K residents, #20 overall)

#28. Idaho

– Total weapons industry entities: 287
— Manufacturers: 130
— Dealers: 155
— Importers: 2
– Registered weapons: 76,425 (40.2 per 1K residents, #8 overall)

#27. Iowa

– Total weapons industry entities: 292
— Manufacturers: 65
— Dealers: 226
— Importers: 1
– Registered weapons: 54,178 (17.0 per 1K residents, #39 overall)

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#26. Utah

– Total weapons industry entities: 304
— Manufacturers: 148
— Dealers: 151
— Importers: 5
– Registered weapons: 118,408 (35.5 per 1K residents, #14 overall)

#25. Louisiana

– Total weapons industry entities: 307
— Manufacturers: 85
— Dealers: 220
— Importers: 23
– Registered weapons: 152,061 (32.9 per 1K residents, #17 overall)

#24. Arkansas

– Total weapons industry entities: 315
— Manufacturers: 132
— Dealers: 168
— Importers: 15
– Registered weapons: 133,981 (44.3 per 1K residents, #7 overall)

#23. Nevada

– Total weapons industry entities: 320
— Manufacturers: 173
— Dealers: 135
— Importers: 12
– Registered weapons: 119,007 (37.9 per 1K residents, #12 overall)

#21. Oregon (tie)

– Total weapons industry entities: 321
— Manufacturers: 110
— Dealers: 210
— Importers: 1
– Registered weapons: 97,474 (23.0 per 1K residents, #29 overall)

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#21. Washington (tie)

– Total weapons industry entities: 321
— Manufacturers: 140
— Dealers: 176
— Importers: 5
– Registered weapons: 165,534 (21.4 per 1K residents, #34 overall)

#19. Oklahoma (tie)

– Total weapons industry entities: 350
— Manufacturers: 138
— Dealers: 211
— Importers: 1
– Registered weapons: 103,368 (25.9 per 1K residents, #22 overall)

#19. Minnesota (tie)

– Total weapons industry entities: 350
— Manufacturers: 109
— Dealers: 228
— Importers: 13
– Registered weapons: 129,825 (22.7 per 1K residents, #30 overall)

#18. Kansas

– Total weapons industry entities: 352
— Manufacturers: 80
— Dealers: 268
— Importers: 4
– Registered weapons: 69,850 (23.8 per 1K residents, #26 overall)

#17. South Carolina

– Total weapons industry entities: 355
— Manufacturers: 109
— Dealers: 236
— Importers: 10
– Registered weapons: 119,205 (23.0 per 1K residents, #28 overall)

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#16. Kentucky

– Total weapons industry entities: 367
— Manufacturers: 95
— Dealers: 254
— Importers: 18
– Registered weapons: 108,833 (24.1 per 1K residents, #24 overall)

#15. Wisconsin

– Total weapons industry entities: 368
— Manufacturers: 115
— Dealers: 252
— Importers: 1
– Registered weapons: 95,430 (16.2 per 1K residents, #40 overall)

#14. Alabama

– Total weapons industry entities: 416
— Manufacturers: 118
— Dealers: 272
— Importers: 26
– Registered weapons: 194,920 (38.7 per 1K residents, #10 overall)

#13. Missouri

– Total weapons industry entities: 417
— Manufacturers: 147
— Dealers: 255
— Importers: 15
– Registered weapons: 113,351 (18.4 per 1K residents, #37 overall)

#12. Indiana

– Total weapons industry entities: 419
— Manufacturers: 103
— Dealers: 310
— Importers: 6
– Registered weapons: 157,546 (23.1 per 1K residents, #27 overall)

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#11. Michigan

– Total weapons industry entities: 446
— Manufacturers: 134
— Dealers: 300
— Importers: 12
– Registered weapons: 109,835 (10.9 per 1K residents, #45 overall)

#10. Tennessee

– Total weapons industry entities: 458
— Manufacturers: 131
— Dealers: 321
— Importers: 6
– Registered weapons: 151,536 (21.7 per 1K residents, #33 overall)

#9. Colorado

– Total weapons industry entities: 506
— Manufacturers: 157
— Dealers: 343
— Importers: 6
– Registered weapons: 149,382 (25.7 per 1K residents, #23 overall)

#8. Georgia

– Total weapons industry entities: 596
— Manufacturers: 203
— Dealers: 380
— Importers: 13
– Registered weapons: 304,124 (28.2 per 1K residents, #19 overall)

#7. Virginia

– Total weapons industry entities: 605
— Manufacturers: 197
— Dealers: 363
— Importers: 45
– Registered weapons: 423,707 (49.0 per 1K residents, #6 overall)

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#6. Ohio

– Total weapons industry entities: 624
— Manufacturers: 239
— Dealers: 379
— Importers: 6
– Registered weapons: 208,661 (17.7 per 1K residents, #38 overall)

#5. North Carolina

– Total weapons industry entities: 640
— Manufacturers: 231
— Dealers: 407
— Importers: 2
– Registered weapons: 222,166 (21.1 per 1K residents, #35 overall)

#4. Pennsylvania

– Total weapons industry entities: 684
— Manufacturers: 210
— Dealers: 457
— Importers: 17
– Registered weapons: 348,167 (26.9 per 1K residents, #21 overall)

#3. Arizona

– Total weapons industry entities: 713
— Manufacturers: 407
— Dealers: 276
— Importers: 30
– Registered weapons: 258,691 (35.6 per 1K residents, #13 overall)

#2. Florida

– Total weapons industry entities: 1,123
— Manufacturers: 462
— Dealers: 595
— Importers: 66
– Registered weapons: 518,725 (23.8 per 1K residents, #25 overall)

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#1. Texas

– Total weapons industry entities: 1,822
— Manufacturers: 748
— Dealers: 1,035
— Importers: 39
– Registered weapons: 1,006,555 (34.1 per 1K residents, #15 overall)