As Donald Trump makes his way through the first month of his presidency, some in the gun industry are wondering what the future holds, and reflecting on the irony that the candidate who was the best option for gun rights might be bad news for gun sales while in office.
This story from CNN Money begins with a commonly held assertion: that President Obama was the greatest gun salesman in America, until Hillary Clinton ran to replace him.
Throughout 2016, the gun industry, along with gun owners across the nation, braced for a deluge of regulations, laws, and bans under a potential Clinton presidency.
Now that a Republican endorsed by the National Rifle Association is in the Oval Office, the story says sales of guns and ammo are falling, along with the share values of gun makers.
“I think the entire gun industry was planning on, and I think the entire country was thinking, that Hillary was going to win,” said Brian Skinner, CEO of Kalashnikov USA in the story.
“And I know there was huge demand, all the manufacturers had huge orders, and then the day after the election, distributors were cancelling orders left and right just because they realized Trump’s coming in now.”
The story says that since Election Day, the two publicly traded gun manufacturers—Sturm Ruger & Co. (RGR), and the former Smith & Wesson, which rebranded its parent company name as American Outdoor Brand (AOBC)—have seen drops of more than 20 percent in their stock prices.
Going by the number of NICS background checks processed by the FBI, after months of successive record setting numbers in 2016, NICS checks dropped by 20 percent in January compared with January 2016.
The story says ammo sales are down too, with the conglomerate that owns Winchester Ammunition also reporting a plunge of 20 percent in the fourth quarter last year from the year before.
Over at Daniel Defense, it seems to be a similar story, according to this story from Forbes.
The Georgia-based AR-15 rifle and firearm accessory manufacturer say sales spike last year when it looked like Clinton was a shoe-in for the White House, the story says.
Marty Daniel, CEO and company founder, is seeing sales drop since the election, but he told Forbes he sees a promising long-term future for gun makers.
Since breaking on the scene in 2001 and subsequently signing a $20 million contract with the U.S. Special Forces, Daniel Defense has seen ups and downs and has become one of the nation’s largest privately held firearms manufacturer with $73 million in sales in 2016, the story says.
“Mrs Clinton was definitely aiming to take away gun rights,” said Daniel in the story. “People overbought out of fear that they would not be able to buy guns in the future. If she had been elected our business would be going through the roof right now. We’d be doubling in size.”
Daniel says he’s not disappointed she lost because he’s “more interested in conserving our gun rights than making a dollar.”
“We are very much relieved in the long term. We know that 10 or 20 years down the road we’re going to remain in business. But we’ll see a little bit of a down cycle compared to the last few years. It will take about a year for the market to correct.”