There is no doubt that the outcome of the presidential election had an effect on gun sales this month. After a record October preceding a presumed Hillary Clinton win an subsequent gun restrictions on the horizon, traffic has fallen off substantially, according to this story from reuters.com.
Since Donald Trump’s win on November 8, shares of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp (soon to be American Outdoor Brands)LINK are down 15 percent with a bit of a rebound this week, and Sturm Ruger & Company stock is down 17 percent.
October capped off months of record sales following 2015, which set a gun sales record itself. December 2015 was the second busiest month ever, the story says, topped only by December 2012, when gun restrictions looked likely after the horrible attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The story says those restrictions never came because President Barack Obama faces opposition in a Republican-controlled Congress.
Black Friday was a cherry on top of a big year last December, but this year, gun sellers are hoping an uptick in momentum since the election will help keep sales brisk, but the registers would have been clanging more if Clinton had won the White House.
“I’m not expecting it to be any slower than our normal Black Friday,” said Kellie Weeks, owner of Georgia Gun Store in Gainesville, Georgia. “But if Hillary had won, we would have sold out already.”
We posted a story recently about Ruger stocking up its inventory of high-demand firearms in anticipation of a sales surge between November 8 and the new year that never came.
After Obama was elected in 2008, the number of NICS background checks performed in November jumped by 48 percent from the previous year, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
The NSSF pulls the NICS checks that are conducted for concealed carry permits to get a more accurate picture of gun sales, but it’s not a one-to-one correlation for gun sales.
But what will 2017 bring for gun shops? One thing is for sure, it won’t be like this year.
Brad Bissey of Tactical Advantage in Overland Park, Kansas said an anticipated “assault weapons” ban, now unlikely under President Trump, was fueling sales at his shop.
“You’re causing people that wouldn’t normally buy a gun to buy two or three. The owner here, Craig, he had sold three rifles to one individual, just because of a possibility (of a Clinton presidency),” Bissey said in this story from NPR.
The shop has only been open a month and customers have been spending big, the story says.
“They were a little nervous thinking about Hillary getting in the office, and there’s been a run on the guns and parts,” Bissey said in the story.
The story says the day after the election, those sales “evaporated.”
NPR also talked to folks a Centerfire Shooting Sports in Olathe, Kansas, a 4-year-old business it calls a part of the “Obama-era gun industry expansion.”
“We’d only been open a month when Sandy Hook happened, and we didn’t know what to expect, and it was crazy,” said co-owner Jean Basore in the story. She said a Clinton win would have caused a spike in sales, but would have ultimately worse for her shop and the industry in the long run.
She added that she thinks the gun industry is turning a corner because about a quarter of her customers are new to guns and many are women.
“I don’t think a fear-driven, momentary surge in gun sales is what the industry needs as a whole,” Basore said in the story. “For all businesses, I’m a small business owner, so I want a strong economy, so people have that income to spend.”