After two years of unprecedented growth in the firearms industry — we called 2015 the “Year of the Gun” in the U.S. — gun and ammunition sales have nose-dived. So what is behind the sudden drop?
It appears President Donald Trump is at least partly responsible.
Firearms sales have taken a beating since Trump was elected, CNN Money reports.
Outdoor retailer Cabela’s reports its quarterly same-store sales have plunged 9 percent compared with the first quarter of 2016 — the slowdown attributed in part to a reduction in the sale of guns and ammo. In a press release, Cabela’s says:
Firearms and ammunition have faced several headwinds including the election and the tough comparisons from the San Bernardino tragedy a year ago.
The outdoor retailer is referring to the mass shooting in San Bernardino in December 2015 that left 14 people dead and 22 injured.
In the wake of a high-profile mass shooting in the U.S., gun and ammo sales typically surge, as was the case after the California rampage.
Former President Barack Obama was also a boon to the gun industry. Obama’s attempts to tighten gun laws after such shootings apparently helped fuel an increase in gun sales, as many Americans stocked up on ammo and firearms.
According to FBI data, agents conducted a record-high number of gun background checks in both 2015 and 2016. In fact, the number of background checks increased in all but one year that Obama was in office. Since Trump was elected, the number of firearm background checks has dropped.
Through April, the number of background checks for 2017 puts the year on pace to finish with more than 1 million fewer checks than in 2016.
Although a background check doesn’t necessarily indicate that a firearm is sold, the checks are representative of a trend in gun purchases.
Stacey Nagy, national sales manager for Primary Weapons Systems — a gun maker in Idaho — tells the Idaho Statesman that gun and ammo sales have plummeted since Trump took office.
“There’s just no political threat. In years past, every time a politician got in front of a microphone calling for bans, demand for those items surged.”
Nagy says the downturn in the firearms industry is great news for buyers looking for a good price on a gun or ammo.
Nagy says guns that sold for $700 or $800 in stores last year have been discounted by as much as 25 percent as supply outstrips demand.
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