Obama Gun Control? Economic Implications of Banning Firearms


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Gun shows are big business in the United States – would gun control hurt the economy? Image by glasgows

Gun Trade, Production, and Fees

Although the retail power of gun-purchasers is vast, the employment opportunities offered by the industry also make up a significant contribution to the economy.

There are around 130,000 licensed firearms dealers in the US – to put this figure into perspective, there are more than 32 times the number of firemarms traders across the country than there are WalMart stores, and there are nearly 12 times more gun dealers than there are Starbucks coffee shops.

Retailers and traders aside, the gun production industry is also a key provider of employment. W

ith up to 5.4 million guns manufactured annually, and demands for the export of US-produced guns increasing, firearms manufacturers are by no means providing negligible numbers of jobs.

If non-military gun production were reduced, the impact of the resulting unemployment would need to be identified and managed in order to avoid an impact on already unsteady unemployment levels.

Reduced spending and employment may be enough to cause the government to drag their heels when considering revising gun policy, but they are not the only financial factors that could possibly be the driving force behind the lack of decisive action when it comes to tackling the issue. Tax revenue alone from firearms purchases totalled over $9.5 million dollars last year. Firearms licences are another source of revenue – depending on the state in which you live, they cost between $5 and $180, funds which can really add up for local governments.

Obama Gun Ban and the Economy

Gun-related tragedies in the States such as the Sandy Hook murders bring calls for tighter controls around firearm licensing and supply for American citizens, but will President Obama implement any sort of gun control measures despite the economic implications? It remains to be seen whether the government can soften the economic impact of gun bans while meeting the demand of many who want to get rid of all firearms in an attempt to see the end of increasing gun crime.


GunPolicy. Gun Facts, Figures, and the Law. (2012). Accessed December 17, 2012.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms. Firearms Commerce in the United States, Annual Statistical Update. (2012). Accessed December 17, 2012.

Kelleher, J. The FBI performed a record number of instant background checks on would-be firearm buyers in 2011. (2012). Reuters. Accessed December 17, 2012.

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