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Somewhere between gun-lovin’ Idaho and gun-loathin’ Maryland — you’ll find Colorado

Author: Dan Njegomir - March 21, 2018 - Updated: March 21, 2018

red flag(Photo by coolerthanice, istockphoto)

It probably should come as no surprise that politically conservative, business-friendly, sparsely populated Idaho ranks No. 1 on a new list of “states most dependent on the gun industry.” Or that Maryland — liberal, heavily taxed and regulated, and with a large and diverse economy and a population nearly four times Idaho’s wedged into one-seventh as much area — would rank last.

… Or, that Colorado — that next-gen rendering of Middle Americana — would rank in the middle, at 24th.

Surprise or otherwise, it’s interesting to pore over the data in the state-by-state analysis on the subject by WalletHub, the personal-finance website. The list made the rounds this week in time for the renewed debate over gun control in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school massacre.

The depth of the numbers crunched by WalletHub to rank the states is impressive and yields assorted, telling data points. Such as:

  • Alaska has the highest gun ownership rate, 61.7 percent.
  • Idaho has the most firearms-industry jobs per 10,000 residents, 40.05.
  • Connecticut has the highest average firearms-industry wages and benefits, $75,708.
  • New Hampshire has the highest total firearms-industry output per capita, $732.54, 26.7 times higher than in Hawaii, which has the lowest at $27.40.
  • Wyoming has the highest total taxes paid by the firearms industry per capita, $9.34, 14.8 times higher than in New York, which has lowest at $0.63.

WalletHub’s wonks looked at those and other statistics for all the states to arrive at its overall rankings of where gun and ammo makers and vendors have the heaviest impact on a state, its government and its economy as well as where that impact is the slightest. WalletHub noted in a press release that its findings could be of all the more relevance given slumping gun sales of late across the country. If sustained, the trend could have repercussions for tax revenue and employment, among other considerations.

The data also brings to mind the much-debated departure from Colorado of Magpul, one of the country’s largest producers of ammunition magazines and other accessories, in 2015.

Yet, Colorado, which turns up somewhere in the middle on so many surveys, didn’t even rank in the top or bottom five of any of the sub-categories on the WalletHub gun-dependency scale. Presumably, the ripple effect of Magpul’s exodus was also middling.

For more on the survey’s methodology and findings as well as a color-coded map of the states, here’s the link again.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.