Thousands expected at world’s biggest gun show

Oklahoma is near the top of the list when it comes to “gun politics” and reliance on the gun industry.

That’s according to WalletHub’s “2017’s States Most Dependent on the Gun Industry” report.

According to that study, Oklahoma is No. 11 in overall rank and No. 8 in “gun politics.”

Gun and ammo sales soared in 2009 as ex-President Barack Obama took office. Since President Donald Trump was inaugurated, gun sales have started to decline. Trump is a staunch supporter of the gun rights.

Joe Wanenmacher, who runs the Wanenmacher Tulsa Arms Show twice a year, said gun sales would have skyrocketed had Hillary Clinton been elected because she campaigned on a policy of restricting gun sales and elimination of gun shows.

Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Arms Show, here April 1-2 at the Tulsa Fairgrounds, is the largest gun show of its kind in the world with more than 4,250 display tables.

Americans  and most Oklahomans support the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms). Laws restricting gun ownership have not been proven to stop gun violence. Chicago has some of the toughest laws against guns in America and one of the highest murder rates with gun violence.

Law-abiding citizens are constrained by tough gun laws but it doesn’t seem to hinder criminals.

“In short, to make an effective law it has to reduce the overall levels of firearm prevalence,” said Trent Steidley, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Denver. “This wouldn’t be a problem in most western nations, but the United States is unique in that we are the only nation that recognizes firearm ownership as a right (at least that’s the case since the D.C. v. Heller ruling). So passing laws that might discourage that right can create an enormous backlash from gun rights advocates.

“Also, a vast majority of states have now passed ‘pre-emption’ laws that prevent local governments from passing firearm ordinances that conflict with state law. So, if a state passes a constitutional amendment allowing concealed carry or open carry in the state and that state has a preemption law, then local municipalities have very few options about what they can do in creating gun policies.”

States that have strict gun laws, like Illinois and New York, are adding restrictions while states with fewer gun limits – like Oklahoma – are reinforcing constitutional rights.

“Currently we are at a point where new gun-control laws seem to be only emerging at the state level, and most of those new laws are coming from states that already have somewhat strong laws on gun control,” said Steidley. “At the same time, more and more states are expanding gun rights and allowing practices like concealed carry and open carry.”

Federal law will favor gun rights under the Trump Administration.

“The NRA went all in for the Trump campaign and never wavered even when the polling looked really bad before the election,” Steidley said. “The NRA has been pushing for a federal concealed carry reciprocity law for some time now, and with the Trump administration in place I think they see a golden opportunity to expand gun rights at the federal level. I think you can expect to see a lot of talk about a national concealed carry law over the course of the year.”

WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across eight key factors, ranging from firearms industry jobs per capita to gun sales per 1,000 residents to gun ownership rate.

Alaska has the highest gun ownership rate, 61.7 percent, 11.9 times higher than in Delaware, which has the lowest at 5.2 percent.

Idaho has the most firearms-industry jobs per 10,000 residents, 39.85, 20.6 times more than in New Jersey, which has the fewest at 1.93.

The District of Columbia has the highest average firearms-industry wages and benefits, $348,325, 10.2 times higher than in New Mexico, which has the lowest at $34,232.

New Hampshire has the highest total firearms-industry output per capita, $722.92, 129.3 times higher than in the District of Columbia, which has the lowest at $5.59.

Wyoming has the highest total taxes paid by the firearms industry per capita, $7.76, 14.9 times higher than in New York, which has lowest at $0.52.

States Most Dependent on Gun Industry

  1. Alaska
  2. Wyoming
  3. Montana
  4. South Dakota
  5. Idaho
  6. Kentucky
  7. Kansas
  8. Arkansas
  9. North Dakota
  10. Alabama
  11. Oklahoma

States Least Dependent on Gun Industry

  1. Hawaii
  2. Connecticut
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Michigan
  5. Maryland
  6. California
  7. New Jersey
  8. New York
  9. Delaware
  10. Rhode Island