The Trump presidency seems to be a nightmare for gun sellers.
Photo by Marcin Wichary/Flickr.
THE GOOD NEWS:
While a loud gun control debate roars on through the country, gun sales are quietly plummeting.
Fear is a huge motivator when it comes to purchasing a firearm. As recently reported in GOOD, economic anxiety and racism are big reasons people might stockpile guns. Over the past decade, fear that prominent Democrats would enact tough gun control legislation was also a huge sales motivator.
During the Obama administration, the gun industry saw the total economic impact of firearms and ammunition grow from $19.1 billion in 2008 to $49.3 billion by 2015. Gun sales were up again in 2016 after the National Rifle Association preyed on fears that Hillary Clinton would leave the American public “defenseless.”
But now that Donald Trump is president, gun owners have little to fear in terms of gun control. Trump became an avid NRA supporter after it helped his campaign to the tune of $30 million.
The NRA’s lack of a liberal bogeyman seems to have caused a dramatic drop in gun sales. American Outdoor Brands Corporation, the maker of Smith & Wesson firearms, has said demand is falling to “new, lower levels” and is reporting a 32.6% drop in net sales according to Bloomberg.
Now, amid falling sales numbers, one of America’s leading gun and ammo manufacturers for over 200 years has declared bankruptcy. In court filings, Remington Outdoor Company said it’s had a difficult time acquiring loans to turn the company around because of public perception. It approached over 30 lenders who were “reluctant” to loan money to a gun manufacturer.
Remington also had a major setback in 2011 when it aborted a public offering and faced investor backlash after its Bushmaster AR-15 rifle was used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.
Remington’s bankruptcy filing shows that the government isn’t the only possible solution to America’s gun violence problem. Public pressure can also create a cultural change in which companies, like banks and retail stores, can have a huge impact on the gun industry.