CT Ranks 20th in Dependence on Gun Industry, But 3rd in Firearms Output, 2nd in Industry Wages

Connecticut’s place in the ongoing national debate about guns is reflected in a new analysis which ranks the state 20th in the nation in overall dependence on the gun industry, but also ranks the state 3rd in total firearms industry output per capita and 2nd in highest average wages & benefits in the firearms industry. Picture8With the gun debate center-stage in the presidential primaries and in Washington, D.C., the website WalletHub analyzed which states depend most on the arms and ammunitions industry both directly for jobs and political contributions and indirectly through firearm ownership. WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key dimensions: 1) Firearms Industry, 2) Gun Prevalence and 3) Gun Politics and eight metrics.

Connecticut also came in 41st in its "firearms prevalence rank" and 47th in "gun politics rank."

The states Most Dependent on the Gun Industry were Idaho, Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Kentucky and Alabama.gun stat chart

Officials point out that the gun industry plays an important role in the U.S. economy, and Connecticut is no exception. By one estimate, firearms and ammunitions contributed a total of nearly $43 billion to the national economy in 2014. That figure accounts for more than 263,000 jobs that paid $13.7 billion in total wages, according to the report from the Connecticut-based National Shooting Sports Foundation. In the same year, federal and state governments collected from the industry more than $5.79 billion in business taxes, plus an additional $863.7 million in federal excise duties, the WalletHub report indicated.

In the overall rankings, the states determined to be least dependent on the gun industry are Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Delaware.

The analysis also found:

  • The number of firearms-industry jobs per capita is highest in New Hampshire, which is seven times greater than in the District of Columbia, where it is lowest.
  • The average wages & benefits in the firearms industry is highest in the District of Columbia, which is three times greater than in New Mexico, where it is lowest.
  • The total firearms industry output per capita is highest in New Hampshire, which is 18 times greater than in Hawaii, where it is lowest.
  • The total taxes paid by the firearms industry per capita is highest in Montana, which is six times greater than in Delaware, where it is lowest.
  • Gun ownership is highest in Alaska, which is 12 times greater than in Delaware, where it is lowest.

The eight relevant metrics utilized in the analysis and their corresponding weights were as follows:map

Firearms Industry – Total Points: 35

  • Number of Firearms-Industry Jobs per 10,000 Residents: (~14 Points)
  • Average Wages & Benefits in the Firearms Industry: (~7 Points)
  • Total Firearms Industry Output per Capita: (~7 Points)
  • Total Taxes Paid by the Firearms Industry per Capita: (~7 Points)

Gun Prevalence – Total Points: 35

  • Gun Ownership: (~17.5 Points)
  • Gun Sales per 1,000 Residents (approximated by using National Instant Criminal Background Check System data): (~17.5 Points)

Gun Politics – Total Points: 30

  • Gun-Control Contributions to Congressional Members per 100,000 Residents: (~15 Points)
  • Gun-Rights Contributions to Congressional Members per 100,000 Residents: (~15 Points)

Data used to create these rankings were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the BMJ Publishing Group and the Center for Responsive Politics, according to WalletHub.

Connecticut Sales Tax is 10th Highest in Nation; Louisiana Promotes Tax-Free Guns & Ammunition Days

When Connecticut’s sales tax inched upwards from 6 percent to 6.35 percent in 2011, the state made its way into the top ten sales tax states, leaving behind a gaggle of 16 states perched at 6 percent or slightly higher, but below the new Nutmeg rate of 6.35 percent.

Today, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators, Connecticut sits at number ten in the nation for its sales tax rate.  Close on our heels are Massachusetts, Texas and Illinois at 6.25 percent, and Kansas at 6.3 percent. Leading the pack is California at 7.5 percent, with five states - Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Tennessee - at 7.0 percent.

Five states - Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon - have no sales tax.  However, Alaska and Montana permit local sales taxes and Delaware imposes a rental and service tax.  The five states with the highest average combined rates of state and local taxes are Tennessee (9.44 percent), Arizona (9.16 percent), LoTaxuisiana (8.87 percent), Washington (8.86 percent), and Oklahoma (8.67 percent), according to the Tax Foundation.

Many states have sales tax holidays on select products for specific time periods during the year, with the majority focusing on back-to-school items or energy saving products.  Alabama, Louisiana and Virginia offer two or three tax-free days for the purchase of hurricane preparedness related equipment.  In Connecticut, clothing and footwear are exempt for a week in late August, just as families are doing their last-minute shopping for the start of the school year.

Tax-Free Days for Gun Saleslouistaxhol

In Louisiana, firearms including shotguns, rifles, pistols, and revolvers, ammunition and hunting supplies are tax-free for three days in September.  In 2012, the days were promoted on the state’s website with a promotional video announcing the “Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday.” Among the additional items that can be sold tax-free are knives, bows & arrows, off-road vehicles and safety gear.   The annual three-day tax holiday was approved by the Louisiana legislature in 2009.

The previous year, South Carolina waived the state’s sales and use tax on purchases of handguns, rifles and shotguns during a Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday, held just after Thanksgiving on Nov. 28 – 29, 2008.  The bill become law after the veto by then-Governor Mark Sanford was overridden in the legislature.  The 48-hour tax break on firearm purchases also applied to any local sales and use tax.  The tax break did not apply to accessories such as ammunition, black powder, holsters, archery supplies and similar items.  The tax holiday, which must be approved annually by the legislature, has not been held the past two years, as the state’s fiscal situation tightened.

 A similar proposal in West Virginia was vetoed by then-Governor Joe Manchin (D) in April 2010.  Manchin was elected to the U.S. Senate later that year.

Earlier this year, a Texas lawmaker proposed that the Lone Star state's independence be celebrated by making Texas Independence Day, March 2nd, a tax-free holiday for gun purchases in that state.  The proposal would include no sales tax on shotguns, rifles, pistols, revolvers and other handguns, gun safes, gun cases, cleaning supplies and optics, ammunition, archery equipment, hunting stands, blinds, and decoys, the NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth has reported.

 Top ten sales tax rates (percentage):

  1.  California            7.5
  2.  Indiana                 7.0
  3. Mississippi          7.0
  4.    New Jersey        7.0
  5. Rhode Island      7.0
  6. Tennessee          7.0
  7. Minnesota          6.875
  8. Arizona                 6.6
  9. Washington        6.5
  10. Connecticut   6.35

The Sales Tax Institute notes that many states allow non-standard rates on many items including meals, lodging, telecommunications and specific items and services. State laws regarding county or local taxes, in addition to the state sales tax, also vary.