Gun and ammo sales reloading jobs

Firearms manufacturers are adding more employees, but the work may only last as long as the current buying spree.

By Jason Notte Mar 25, 2013 4:29PM
A man looks at Mossberg shotgun during the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas (© Steve Marcus / Reuters)As sales of guns and ammunition continue to soar, firearms have become not just a hot commodity, but a job creator.

Gun interest has surged after last year's shooting massacres at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater and a Newtown, Conn., elementary school prompted lawmakers to revisit the debate on gun control legislation. And manufacturers are scrambling to pick up as many workers as they can to meet demand. Brian Rafn, who follows the gun industry for Morgan Dempsey Capital Management, told CNN that while the firearms industry employs only about 240,000 people nationwide, it is adding manufacturing capacity in regions where such jobs are scarce.

For companies like Smith and Wesson (SWHC), Sturm, Ruger & Co. (RGR), Colt and others, that means opening new facilities and bringing in more labor in the Northeast, where manufacturing jobs are usually referred to in past tense. In some states that have come down firmly on the “control” side of the gun debate, those same manufacturers are leaving town for more like-minded political landscapes.

In Colorado, for example, high-capacity ammunition magazine manufacturer Magpul threatened to relocate its 200 jobs after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed bills requiring more extensive background checks and limiting magazine capacity to 15 rounds. Even in gun-friendly states, however, it's getting tough to find workers qualified to make the increasingly complex weapons that serious gun collectors are looking for.

According to Reuters and the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, women and older Americans were the key growth areas when mandatory background checks for firearm sales at U.S. gun stores rose nearly 50% year-over-year in December. That doesn't mean more folks from each demographic were buying guns, however. In 1977, the University of Chicago's nationwide General Social Survey showed that 54% of American households reported owning guns. By 2010, the last time the survey data was compiled, reported gun ownership had fallen to 32%.

The remaining gun owners, if the data is accurate, are simply buying a lot more firearms and have more sophisticated tastes than one-off buyers. Newer weapons are now built with ergonomic frames, triggers with innovative safeties or actions, or side-mounted laser sights. Engineers with skills to create them can pocket more than $100,000 a year, but both they and $60,000-a-year machinists are in demand elsewhere.

Gun manufacturers complain that expanding oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, the Northeast and the Dakotas are draining the talent pool. The other issue is that gun manufacturers are reluctant to offer steady work, preferring contract hires who can be dropped as soon as demand softens. Guns and ammo may be creating jobs in the short-term, but even those booming industries declare a cease-fire every so often.

More on moneyNOW

Mar 25, 2013 5:38PM
Feinstein has successfully put millions of more guns and ammo into the hands of the American public because of her agenda to do the opposite.  She may not be a 6th grader, but her common sense and foresight is well below that grade level.
Mar 25, 2013 4:55PM
gun ownership falls to 32%, ?? I doubt it, more likely fewer people admit owning guns.
Mar 25, 2013 6:39PM

So ownership has gone from 54% in 77 to 32% to 2010?  Yea right.  After seeing what fascist politicians like Feinstein are up to, people have learned to keep their mouths shut about what they own.


Older Americans and women are the fastest growing demographic yet ownership is dropping precipitously?  Are all MSDNC reporters this brain dead? 


Two million background checks a month, factories can't keep up with demand, yet the market is shrinking.  BS, there are stories all over the place that report  first time buyers are off the charts.

Mar 25, 2013 7:05PM
Finally, Obama's jobs program is working!
Mar 25, 2013 8:12PM
yea kinda of funny that background checks are skyrocketing and gun ownership is shrinking.  MSNBC liberal logic.
Mar 25, 2013 9:38PM

Almost any new gun law that they come up with will hurt honest law abiding citizens.  Criminals don't care about laws, that is why they are criminals.


The kid in Conn broke 41 laws in the commission of his crime.  He had to walk past a sign that said "GUN FREE ZONE" and he had to break a window to get into the school.  Plus it is now coming out that he had been planning this for about 2 years. 


Even obuma said that he didn't think that any new laws would have prevented any of the recent gun related crimes.


I served 20 years in the Marines so that some people can say dumb things and what I have been hearing lately makes me wonder if some people are even listening to what they say.


Feinstein bragged about getting her own concealed carry permit and getting trained to use her gun.  What about all the security that she is surrounded by.  They all have guns and Federal Gun Carry Permits.  I bet that I've had more gun training than she has.  Guns are just tools.  They can't fire without human intervention!


And the nut in New York.  He wants to restrict the size of soft drink containers, remove salt from tables and make them cover up cigarettes so you can't see them.  And now he is on his high horse about Illegal guns.  What is a illegal gun?  I had to get a permit to buy almost all of the guns that I have.  Is he bored or something.  Cars kill more people than guns.  Why doesn't he ban cars and trucks and make everybody ride a bus?


I am also against any back ground check that creates a National Gun Registry.  Hitler used the gun registry to disarm citizens not friendly to him.  And they went to the hall of records in each country that they attacked and used their gun registries to do the same thing.

Mar 25, 2013 8:30PM
I see how the calls went,  this is a survey how many guns do you have in the house, F off none go away.
Mar 25, 2013 7:53PM
WOW! soft drinks kills more people than guns where's the love?

Mar 25, 2013 10:03PM
Employs only 240,000??????   Maybe the gun makers themselves, but what about the countless gun shops, ammo and gunpowder manufactures, scope and sight makers, reloading supplies, gun safes, storage boxes ,target companies, repair shops,  folks like myself that make gun leather........the list go's on and on. The firearms industry is a huge part of our economy.
Mar 25, 2013 8:31PM
polls do not mean much anymore, these polls can be slanted one way or another to get a answer they want. did the poll in rural america or the big city? poll in democrat or republican areas? unless you poll all three hundred million americans the poll only shows what a few people said.
Mar 25, 2013 9:21PM
This will be the Legacy that Barack Obama was looking for. He finally created jobs. The shortage of Ammo in Florida is starting to ease and the ranges are getting crowded with people trying to fine tune their accuracy
Mar 25, 2013 10:02PM
Guns sales are surging because of Obama and his cronies trying to take them away.  The writer of this article is clueless.
Mar 25, 2013 8:55PM
Did those doing the ownership surveys in 2010 ever think that fewer people were willing to admit to owning guns due to their fear of the way our government has been going, and that the percentage or owners, per capita, might actually have risen?  I personally don't think that only 32% of the population owns over three hundred million firearms...of course that would only be a little over three guns each for ninety something million people so I guess it is feasible.  At any rate, if I get surveyed I am going to lie like Hell!
Mar 25, 2013 10:04PM
bloomberg cites some obscure poll that says 90% of people support universal background checks - I think the polling company surveyed 10 people from his office - total BS and NBC continues to push the lie that Americans want this - the reality is Americans are letting their Senators know what the truth is and if they want to stay in office they better vote correctly - let Chicago and NY pass all the laws they want - its a states right issue, not a national issue - Chicago, NY and DC account for 20% of the homicdes by firearms and they have the strictest laws on the books - how the hell are more laws going to prevent the violence?
Mar 25, 2013 10:26PM
i have been to 4 gun shows in 2 month and business is better than it as ever been ever ever ever so bloomberg polls are full of $hit and so is bloomberg
Mar 25, 2013 9:48PM
The poll is BS, they only called paroled felons in New York city!
Mar 25, 2013 10:05PM
People have realized that the police are last responders when it comes to protecting ones self. So what does one do? Become a crime report that just id's a person as a victum. Or take a stand to protect ones self with force. Criminals are not one time offenders. They will get away with what ever till something stops them. They are educated on there rights and know how to get away with crime within the law. Stand to live or lay down and die. Its your life. It is not if but when the time comes. My cousin was police chief of Barstow, Calif. The only time he was assulted was a time being off duty after a movie with his wife. He was taken into a ally at gun point. He was shot 3 times and then he knocked the two criminals out cold. He was a big man. But he didnt have any gun for protection. It was a mistake that he lived to rember. He was prepaired for next time.

Weapons are the largest manufacturing section in the US!


The US Gov. and it's contractors are the largest suppliers of weapons to the world - in the world.


Stop New Regulations! Don't give them a monopoly - we will all be subservient to the power!

Mar 25, 2013 10:16PM
32%?  Really?  That figure sounds like wishful thinking to me.  It has traditionally run around 50% for decades.  The real answer is that people are lying on the polls.  I also believe increasing numbers of people with landlines are monitoring incoming calls and are refusing to answer pollsters.  The last four years have resulted in a massive increase in buying up guns and ammo.  Don't think for one minute that it ever dropped off;.

Mar 25, 2013 10:33PM
LOL.  Guns are good for the economy.  Obama=salesman of the year.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

Trending NOW

What’s this?


[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 trades higher by 0.4%.

The Philadelphia Fed Survey for September fell to 22.5 from 28.0. Economists polled by had expected that the Survey would slip to 23.5. Nasdaq +21.91 at 4584.1... NYSE Adv/Dec 1778/1016... Nasdaq Adv/Dec 1621/706.