Florida ranks surprisingly low nationally in gun stores, sales per capita

by | Jul 29, 2022


  • 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
1 Wyoming 97.4 566 6,050 35,169
2 Montana 87.0 924 6,645 70,552
3 Alaska 70.3 518 5,395 39,759
4 North Dakota 62.1 472 4,699 35,732
5 South Dakota 57.7 507 4,750 41,772
6 Idaho 47.7 837 6,811 119,491
7 West Virginia 47.7 862 5,120 92,541
8 Vermont 46.1 288 3,555 22,197
9 Iowa 39.4 1,241 4,059 127,848
10 Arkansas 38.5 1,159 3,762 113,314
11 Nebraska 35.7 686 1,991 38,309
12 Kansas 35.4 1,032 3,266 95,135
13 Maine 35.4 474 4,011 53,787
14 Missouri 33.4 2,044 4,268 261,399
15 Oklahoma 33.3 1,316 4,566 180,342
16 Kentucky 30.3 1,352 46,948 2,094,787
17 Oregon 30.1 1,258 4,813 201,022
18 Mississippi 29.7 887 4,515 134,642
19 Colorado 28.7 1,634 4,689 266,553
20 New Hampshire 28.0 380 4,871 66,013
21 New Mexico 25.9 544 4,116 86,322
22 Utah 24.6 776 16,069 506,367
23 Minnesota 24.2 1,356 8,188 458,568
24 Wisconsin 24.0 1,396 5,448 316,376
25 Louisiana 23.6 1,103 3,647 170,127
26 Alabama 22.5 1,101 7,645 374,096
27 North Carolina 21.3 2,216 3,052 316,997
28 Texas 21.0 6,013 2,989 855,905
29 Tennessee 20.7 1,404 6,205 420,199
30 Indiana 20.6 1,379 9,338 625,360
31 South Carolina 20.4 1,041 4,121 209,843
32 Arizona 20.4 1,463 3,814 273,584
33 Michigan 19.8 1,976 4,041 403,011
34 Pennsylvania 19.5 2,501 4,842 619,530
35 Ohio 18.9 2,206 2,886 336,981
36 Virginia 18.8 1,596 3,278 278,978
37 Georgia 17.5 1,836 2,874 302,270
38 Nevada 15.9 481 2,663 80,710
39 Washington 14.0 1,050 5,315 399,258
40 Delaware 13.6 132 3,576 34,602
41 Florida 13.4 2,847 3,529 748,659
42 Connecticut 12.0 430 3,536 126,268
43 Illinois 10.4 1,324 16,234 2,064,400
44 Maryland 9.2 556 1,894 114,372
45 New York 9.1 1,785 1,135 221,579
46 Rhode Island 7.0 74 1,433 15,157
47 Hawaii 6.7 95 642 9,116
48 California 4.8 1,903 1,758 691,718
49 Massachusetts 4.7 326 1,651 113,472
50 New Jersey 3.5 311 914 81,209

3 Comments

  1. dolphincritic

    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?

    Reply
  2. rodthomson

    No overlay gun shootings per capita per state, highest to lowest. Bet there is a general inverse relationship.

    Reply
  3. vincewarde

    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.

    Reply

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