The Great Pre-Election (and Post-Election?) Gun Sale Surge

The Great Pre-Election (and Post-Election?) Gun Sale Surge
photo from salon.comweb photo

As the hours fall away until the 2016 presidential election, it seems gun owners are preparing for a presidency, no matter who wins, that will bring new gun controls measures.

According to this story from Salon.com, executives at one of the country's top firearms manufacturers, Sturm Ruger, said it's planning for a buying surge through the end of the year.

"If you look back at what happened eight years ago (Obama's first election victory) there was, in my opinion, a surprising number of people who were actually surprised by the outcome (of the election) at the last minute and then scrambled, you know, through November to try to get any product," said Michael Fifer, CEO of Sturm, Ruger & Co. in the story while discussing the company's third-quarter earnings. "We have done extensive contingency planning for any combination of who wins the White House, who wins the Senate, who wins the House."

The story says Ruger, which just released an update to one of their oldest models, the Mark IV pistol, posted a 66 percent increase in profit, to $20 million, on a 33 percent jump in sales, to $161 million, in the three months ending October 1, compared to the same quarter last year.

The Connecticut-based gun company said firearms production rose 20 percent in the first nine months of the year. The company has increased internal and wholesale distributor inventories of its firearms by about 74,000 units in the third quarter in anticipation of a post-election surge.

Ruger's Chief Operating Officer Christopher Killoy said in the story that certain products have been "amplified" in regards to inventory, including the Ruger AR-556, and the Ruger LC9 compact pistol. Killoy said sales for bolt action rifles and other hunting-specific firearms are slow.

According to this story from Fox Business, the number of FBI background checks spiked in Q3 by 16 percent. They also talked to Killoy, who said hunting season hasn't been the catalyst for sales this year that it usually is.

“We kept waiting for the hunting season to kick in, and really the hunting season this year was fairly weak across the board,” Killoy said in the story. “A lot of consumers spent their discretionary income dollars on concealed carry products and modern sporting rifles.”

The story says the FBI processed 2.33 million background checks in October, a new record for the months. NICS checks are on their way to setting a new annual record in 2016, though they aren’t a one-to-one corollary for gun sales, just a good indicator.

Back in August, Fifer attributed the high sales to the election, telling CNNMoney that it was unprecedented to have a presidential nominee who is “actively campaigning against the lawful commerce in arms,” speaking of Hillary Clinton.

Fifer declined to provide sales projections based on who wins the election, saying only that Ruger “has a plan in place and will act decisively and accordingly” no matter who wins.

"We would like to encourage all of our customers and all Americans to have their voice heard and to vote in next week's election," said Fifer in this ksl.com story. "There's a lot at stake."