The remarkable coincidence of increased private ownership of guns as reflected by the explosive growth of firearms manufacturers, coupled with the increased interest in self-defense and relaxed state rules regarding carrying a weapon with or without a concealed weapons permit, along with the steady decline in violent crime as reported by the FBI, all seem to point to a supreme irony: The most anti-gun president in recent memory, who is trying to stimulate the economy by growing jobs, is in fact increasingly responsible for the growth of the gun industry itself.
According to the National Shooting Sports Federation (NSSF), the trade association that represents nearly 7,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, and others involved in the gun industry, the economic impact of that industry has grown by 66 percent since the start of the Great Recession. In 2008 the total impact (direct and indirect) was $19 billion. Last year it exceeded $31 billion. Jobs and taxes it generated also jumped a similar amount. Jobs directly connected with the industry increased from 75,000 to nearly 100,000 last year, while federal, state, and excise taxes (which support wildlife conservation) increased from $3.1 billion to $5 billion.
So strong has been demand for firearms that Sturm, Ruger & Company saw a 50 percent increase in sales for the first quarter of 2012 over a year ago, forcing the company to stop accepting orders from March until May in order to catch up. Smith & Wesson said last month that they had a firearms-order backlog of almost $500 million, up an astonishing 135 percent from the same period a year ago.
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