Big Bucks: Competing Studies Compare Costs, Economic Benefits of Firearms in Maine

By Koenig, Seth | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), February 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Big Bucks: Competing Studies Compare Costs, Economic Benefits of Firearms in Maine


Koenig, Seth, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJCiDrqjjz8

Much can -- and has -- been said about the intangible role guns play in American society. They are touted as crucial components of the country's heritage and founding ethos, and conversely as a deadly obsession that has led to widespread heartache, depending on who is doing the talking.

An emotional President Barack Obama last month announced a series of budget priorities and executive actionsafter a high-profile string of mass shootings and what he called "constant excuses for inaction" in the face of it.

But this week, the data analysts at the finance site WalletHub released a study focused on the cold, hard economics of America's firearms. Specifically, the site's researchers used gun industry jobs, wages, political contributions and firearm ownership numbers to gauge which states are most "dependent on the gun industry."

Simply put, Maine ranked near the bottom of that list -- No. 44 out of 51, including Washington, D.C. The states considered most "dependent on the gun industry" were Idaho, Alaska and Montana.

Neighboring New Hampshire, home of gun manufacturers like SIG Sauer and Ruger, tops the list in terms of firearm industry jobs and economic output per capita, and places seventh on the overall list.

The WalletHub team did also acknowledge a recent analysis by left- leaning publication Mother Jones, placing the annual cost of gun violence in America at $229 billion. But the site's researchers didn't line the Mother Jones numbers up against the economic benefit numbers it used, which were apparently gathered from a study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Doing so would illustrate whether -- from a purely financial perspective -- firearms are an economic cost or benefit to any given state.

This type of statistical comparison, of course, doesn't take into consideration the extremely important non-monetary aspects of the debate, such as the emotions surrounding heritage and tragedy.

However, it does add another statistical breakdown to the discussion, and one in which advocates for both sides are presenting their own numbers. All the figures used are presumably as high as they can defensibly be.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbqEj2jYeEM

According to the NSSF study, Maine can thank the firearm industry for 1,242 jobs -- directly and indirectly, counting those who supply goods and services to gun manufacturers in addition to those who work for the manufacturers themselves -- andan annual total of $177. …

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