Guns on display at Dicks Sporting Goods / Photo by Sean on Flickr

According to a new study from WalletHub, a personal finance website, Montana leads the nation in gun ownership. Montana has a gun ownership rate of 65% and ranked fifth in the study’s “dependency on the gun industry” scale. This metric was built on three dimensions (arms industry, firearm prevalence, and firearm politics) and 16 separate metrics.

The state is home to some of the best hunting in the country, so it should be no surprise that 90%-95% of homes in Montana contain at least one firearm. Montana Shooting Sports Association President Gary Marbut told The Center Square, “There are people who live in Montana just for the hunting… In the fall, there is deer and elk hunting. In other times of the year, there is bear and mountain lion hunting, moose hunting, sheep, goats, game bird and waterfowl hunting. When none of those is in season, there is always gopher hunting and prairie dog hunting, coyote hunting and other kinds of hunting of unregulated species.”

Gary Marbut also told The Center Square about the large shooting sports community in the state, “There is bullseye and high power, smallbore, long range, metallic silhouette, trap and skit, sporting clays, practical pistol and long-range precision rifle and others.”

The prevalence of firearms in the state is also the result of solid firearm regulations. Marbut pointed out that “they just want to be able to choose whether or not be victims” when asked about the high rate of firearm ownership in the state.

For the past few years, gun sales have hit record highs, but two quarters into 2022, it looks like things are finally slowing down. This isn’t necessarily a sign of bad times ahead; the massive boom in 2020 resulted from the social and political environment produced by the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2020 summer of rioting. So things were expected to slow back down after a while.

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