Has the Gun Industry Been Kept from PPP Loans?

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posted on July 16, 2020
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Photo credit: Karolina Grabowska via Pexels

A review of the records released on July 6, 2020 by the U.S. Treasury and Small Business Administration (SBA) shows the firearms manufacturing industry was able to use the massive Payroll Protection Program (PPP) to protect just 8,727 of its jobs. The PPP is overseen by the SBA as part of the CARES Act, and is meant to assist the U.S. economy through the COVID-19 crisis in the first half of 2020.

This information comes from a records release detailing 661,218 recipients of PPP loans that were valued greater than $150,000. This group represents the largest loans out of over 4.9 million loans made by the program. Out of this total, only 151 of these loans were made to the firearms and outdoor industries. Specifically, 7,230 jobs were retained, via 123 loans, in the firearms manufacturing sector, and 1,497 jobs, via 28 loans, were saved in the outdoor hunting services sector.

Part of the reason for the small number of jobs from gun makers being protected might be discrimination from lending institutions.

A letter sent to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and others, by U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) on July 9 begins: “As you are aware, we led letters in our respective chambers respectfully requesting the Administration take additional steps to clarify the eligibility of lawful and legally compliant industries, including the firearm, oil and gas, coal, and private prison industries, for PPP funding and other COVID-19 relief resources. The ongoing unlawful discriminatory policies expressed by financial institutions and distributors of this relief prompted these letters…. It has come to our attention that our initial concerns have come to fruition, when multiple small businesses that applied for PPP funding were denied. It became apparent during the appeals process that a financial services provider distributing federal relief has a policy that refuses services to members of the firearm industry.”

Overall, per the SBA’s records, PPP loans are estimated to have helped keep nearly 31.5 million workers on business payrolls during the first half of the year.

The information, finance, insurance, rental and leasing, professional services, management and administrative support sectors were the largest recipients of financial assistance, using PPP loans to retain over 6.4 million jobs via 160,662 loans.

The wholesale, retail, transportation and warehousing sector followed, with roughly 5 million jobs retained and 110,609 loans made.

The education and health-care sectors were the third largest recipient of aid, retaining over 5.7 million via 97,603 PPP loans over $150,000.

The mining, utilities and construction industries reported to have kept nearly 3.5 million people on the payroll through 92,668 loans.

The U.S. manufacturing sector, of which the firearms industry is a part, was fifth to benefit, retaining an estimated 3.4 million jobs, issuing 68,643 PPP loans.

The arts-and-entertainment sector followed; it used these loans to save 4.5 million jobs.

America’s agricultural community used these loans to save almost half a million jobs, via 9,733 loans.

The PPP data release only constitutes 13% of the total number of loans made through the PPP program. The rest of the CARES Act went to 4.3 million other borrowers requesting less than $150,000 in aid from the government.

America’s gun industry has, of course, been very busy this year. Gun sales are so robust many retailers have found it difficult to keep popular models in stock. Some gun makers have, nevertheless, been affected by the mandatory shutdowns related to this pandemic.

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Philip Schreier
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