One question which is squarely in the minds of firearm retailers and gun manufacturers alike is whether or not the recent Donald Trump’s Presidential election win will result in a rise or a fall in the sale of firearms.
Trump’s Win Changed Expectations
One of the major policy issues separating voters during the 2016 Presidential election was gun control laws. Hillary Clinton made it clear that if she won the election she would push for stronger gun control laws, leading gun enthusiasts to stock up on handguns, rifles, ammunition and replacement parts for their ar-15 semiautomatic rifles. Fears of serious restrictions if Clinton was elected led to a surge in firearm sales, leading many gun retailers to stock up on supplies as they anticipated more runs on firearms as the election approached.
This steady stocking up of weapons and supplies was not unprecedented. Retailers experienced an enormous increase in the sales of handguns and supplies following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008. At that time, gun buyers’ fears went through the roof as Obama made his anti-gun ownership position clear. Concerns about negative changes in gun control laws were justified, as Obama signed numerous laws impacting the sales of handguns, rifles and accessories during his Presidency.
Although the sales of handguns and ammo increased prior to the election this past November, as buyers anticipated similar changes in gun control laws if Clinton was elected, gun sales quickly fell off following the election as she was defeated and fears of restrictive gun control laws substantially decreased. Some retailers even held unanticipated sales of handguns, rifles and supplies in order to decrease their inventory.
Clinton’s defeat did not just impact the retail sales of guns and ammunition. Stock analysts quickly noticed a decline in gun stock market prices, at least during the initial weeks after the election results were announced. This decline seemed to reflect a decrease in concerns that there would be big changes in gun ownership laws as gun control activists lost power when Trump won the Election.
But will gun sales—as well as the purchase of related ammo and firearm parts—continue to slow, as the fears of gun owners are assuaged, or will possible roll backs in gun regulation lead to a steady increase in AR-15 or handgun sales? Retailers remain optimistic that gun sales will remain steady, but for now, it’s too soon to tell. If the last Black Friday sale was any indicator, gun owners will be happy to see a drop in ammunition prices.
Trump’s Impact on Gun Sales
The election of Donald Trump, a staunch supporter of the 2nd amendment, has eased the fears of gun owners, as the threat to gun ownership is now substantially lowered. Considered a pro-gun President, even earning the support of the National Rifle Association during his run for the Presidency, his position on 2nd amendment rights was announced very clearly during the campaign. The President-elect published a position paper in order to inform the citizenry of the United States of his stance on gun rights so there would be no doubts as to which side of the 2nd Amendment he favored. Trump made it clear that he is an advocate of an expansion of gun rights; this position may ultimately lead to a steady increase in gun sales over time.
One of the policies the President-elect favors is removing the prohibition against allowing trained military personnel from carrying weapons while they are at military bases or recruitment centers. The President-elect believes that eliminating the gun-free zones would prevent future mass shootings by terrorists and mentally unstable individuals. Another policy that has the support of the President-elect is the institution of a national right to carry law, often referred to as national reciprocity. Under this proposed law, states would be required to honor concealed weapon permits that have been issued in other states. If this law passes congressional scrutiny, there may be a resulting substantial increase in the sale of handguns and supplies.
Gun Sales Outlook Under Trump Administration
Gun retailers also remain optimistic that a Republican presidency will lead to an increase in gun sales over time, as there is a firm belief that the President-elect’s ability to create jobs will ultimately increase the number of individuals employed across the country as well as improve the national economy. When purchasers have more money available to spend, there may be a resulting increase in the purchase of firearms and ammunition.
But for now, it remains to be seen whether or not the results of the November election will lead to an increase or a decrease in the sale of handguns, rifles, ammo and gun parts. Ammunition prices have decreased slightly, and availability of hard to find bullets like .22lr are becoming easier to buy. One thing is for sure: the pre-election fears and concerns surrounding gun control measures are allayed for now. And the change in the atmosphere may be all that is necessary to encourage gun buyers to continue to purchase their weapons and supplies as they anticipate positive changes in America’s economy.