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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 21, 20183min504

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.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningMarch 13, 20187min1500

The Colorado Republican Party had arranged to hold a fundraising dinner and a slew of district assemblies at the Best Western hotel in Longmont on the eve of the party’s state assembly in Boulder next month. But after party officials got wind that the hotel chain had ended its affiliation with the National Rifle Association in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the state GOP decided to move its operations to another hotel on the south side of Denver, nearly 50 miles away. For a while, that was the official story.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 6, 20182min814

Personable but plucky Colorado political operative Laura Carno wears a lot of hats, all tipped to the right. One of them involves serving as face and voice for right-to-arms group Coloradans for Civil Liberties, whose take-no-prisoners motto unflinchingly advocates, “Restoring freedom one round at a time.” And she regularly touts that priority far and wide.

Coloradans for Civil Liberties runs the FASTER program, which helps train faculty and staff at participating Colorado school districts in the use of firearms in crisis situations.

Last week, Carno took her message to national TV on Fox News’s Ingraham Angle for a debate over arming schoolteachers and staff, which Coloradans for Civil Liberties supports. She faced off with Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers in the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting massacre.

Canady told host and conservative provocateur Laura Ingraham his organization is against armed teachers and prefers that a law officer be based on each school campus to fend off another calamity like the one in Parkland last month.

But Carno said relying on one campus officer to get to the scene — to say nothing of a police force that could be blocks or miles away — could cost valuable time: “The faster you stop the shooter, the fewer people die.”

Watch the full debate (it’s brief) above.

Last month, a committee in the Democratic-controlled Colorado House of Representatives killed Republican legislation that would have let concealed-weapon permit holders carry guns on school grounds.