- Forty U.S. states have more gun stores per 100,000 people than Florida
- Floridians bought fewer guns than the citizens of 33 other U.S. states on a per capita basis
- Despite its small size, Kentucky citizens bought more total guns than any U.S. state in the first half of 2022 – almost three times as many as Floridians over the same period
There are over 393 million guns in circulation in the U.S., according to estimates from the Small Arms Survey, far outnumbering the national population of 327 million. In the United States – the only country in the world home to more civilian-owned guns than people – guns are big business.
While the appropriate balance between gun rights and public safety is a hot button political issue, the economics of the firearm industry are less controversial. According to The Firearm Industry Trade Association, guns and ammunition had a total economic impact of over $70.5 billion in 2021 – generating over a billion dollars in tax revenue and providing hundreds of thousands of jobs.
According to data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, there were 2,847 federally licensed dealers or pawn brokers of firearms in Florida as of January 2022, or 13.4 for every 100,000 people – the 10th fewest among states.
The concentration of gun stores reflects current demand for firearms in the state, as Florida ranks in the bottom half for both measures, adjusting for population. FBI firearm background check data, which is a close proxy for firearm sales, shows that an estimated 748,659 guns were sold in Florida in the first half of 2022, or 3,529 for every 100,000 people, the 16th fewest among states.
|Rank||State||Gun stores per 100,000 people||Total store Count||Gun sales per 100,000 people, 1st half of 2022||Total gun sales, 1st half of 2022|
Note that the states ranked from 42 to 50 are states with very strict gun control laws. Does this mean that people purchase guns extralegally? Does this mean that evryone is armed to the teeth in those states? These states lead in gun violence! Does it mean that law abiding citizens don’t have guns but the criminals do?
No overlay gun shootings per capita per state, highest to lowest. Bet there is a general inverse relationship.
I am sure your gun store stats are accurate, however, your gun sales stats may not be. The reason is that as many as half of NICS background checks do not involve a firearms sales. Many states and localities run their CCW license/permit holders frequently. The state that does this most frequently is KY – which you cite. Many other states also do this. In order to estimate gun sales you need the corrected figures. Even then, people with CCWs can purchase guns without a background check in many states and more than one firearm can be purchased at the same time on the same check.
Also, as far as the “gun store” stats are concerned, while accurate, a high number of FFLs could very well represent “hobbyist dealers”, rather than actual brick and mortar stores. For instance, my state of Idaho has one FFL per 2100 people. Obviously, that is not enough people to support a firearms business. Zoning laws come into play here, as the hobbyists usually operate out of homes.
In short, it is just not as simple as this article makes it seem.