Many of us welcomed Trump to the Presidency with a sense of pride. However, there is one group for whom the new (ish) president has brought some bad news – gun store owners, and gun manufacturers.
This is because gun sales have seen a significant drop since the election of Trump. But don’t worry – this does not indicate waning enthusiasm for people to own guns. Quite the opposite. It appears that demand has dropped because people feel that their rights to own guns will be protected under the new administration.
The extent to which this is true remains to be seen. While Trump seemed to be pro-gun during the election campaign, and though his campaign eventually won the backing of the NRA, it is not clear that there is a concrete policy position on gun rights. Like a lot of issues raised by the new administration, Trump’s stance on gun rights is frustratingly vague and lacking in details.
Of course, doing nothing to further erode our Second Amendment rights would be a welcome change from the Obama regime. The constant attempt to ban and / or limit ownership of assault-style weapons, though ultimately defeated, was a source of worry for people don’t want their rights to be further limited, or who rely on these guns for their livelihood.
Sales of these weapons peaked, therefore, during the Obama presidency, and specifically during those periods where the president was talking about banning them. There is, of course, a deep irony in this – that a president who was perhaps more anti-gun than any other in our recent history managed to create a huge demand for guns.
Now the Republicans are back, it seems that people are taking it more slowly when it comes to buying weapons. Instead of rushing to purchase a gun before it is banned, people now seem to be taking their time, secure in the knowledge that they have at least 5 years to get the gun that they want.
And so while the drop in gun sales seems like a bad thing on the surface, it is actually a sign of a gun enthusiast community in excellent health.
That is not to say that the recent drop in demand is good news for everyone. Gun store owners tend to be some of the most politically and economically savvy of all small business owners, and so before the election they looked at the prediction of who would win. With almost every major commentator predicting a Clinton presidency, these businesses stocked up, expecting the increased demand for guns to continue.
Many of these businesses now have a glut of product, and are finding it difficult to sell it. With many local gun stores having closed in recent years, this is worrying news, because ongoing low demand could lead to the closure of more of these businesses. On the other hand, of course, there has never been a better time to buy an assault-style weapon. With a huge oversupply, AR-15s and the like can be picked up for next to nothing.
The decreased demand is also bad news for investors. Share prices in gun manufacturing companies have seen a significant drop over the past year, with those in the industry predicting that decreased demand will continue for some time.
There has also been another worrying development. Gun sales are undoubtedly down on a national level, but at the same time some groups are buying more weapons than ever before. Groups and organizations who cater to LGBT and black gun owners have actually seen a spike in interest over the past year, and it seems that more liberals than ever are looking into gun ownership.
The reason for this trend is also related to the Trump presidency. It has been reported that both LGBT and black groups are increasingly worried about violence, and are taking steps to arm themselves. Whilst we are all for more people, whatever their color or creed, owning and learning how to use weapons, we should hope that these groups are not merely buying guns, but are also educating themselves to be responsible gun owners like the rest of us.
Overall, we are faced with a deeply strange situation. We now have a president who is assumed to be pro-gun, though the details of this remain sketchy at best. This has led to a decrease in gun sales, which is simultaneously good and bad news. We don’t wish to see any more local gun stores go to the wall, of course, but if you have been thinking about getting an AR-15 for a while, now is definitely the time.