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Sales of guns and ammunition in the US have dropped significantly since the election of Donald Trump to the nation’s highest office, according to FBI statistics, trade groups, gun shop owners and corporate reports.
Many are saying that the recent downturn in sales is due to Trump’s political program, in which he has vowed to protect gun rights. For some, the election of Trump has removed the urgency to buy guns they felt under the Obama administration, which tried to ban the sale of assault-style weapons.
Sales are not, however, down across the board. Gun clubs and shops that serve black and LGBT clients have reported an increased interest in firearms since the election. Some fear that Trump’s presidency could see an increase in racial and gender-based violence.
Many gun shops stocked up before the election, anticipating that Hillary Clinton would win and continue to try to ban assault weapons. Sales in the week before the election were high, as many customers felt the same.
Now Trump is in power with the full backing of the NRA, that sense of urgency has been lost. As a result, many gun shops now have a significant glut of product.
All over the country, gun sales are trending downward. They reached a peak during the Obama administration, when many firearm enthusiasts felt that they would soon no longer be able to buy certain types of weapon. According to the FBI, who deal with the background checks requested by licensed firearm dealers when they sell weapons, requests for checks dropped from 3.3 million per month in December 2015 to 2.8 million in December 2016. In January 2017, there were 2 million checks performed, versus 2.5 million in January 2016.
As a result, shares in gun manufacturers have also dropped. Sturm, Ruger & Co.’s value has tumbled nearly 24 per cent since November, and American Outdoor Brand’s shares are now down a huge 32 per cent in the same period. Investors clearly believe that the recent drop in sales will continue.
The biggest fall in sales has been in the semi-automatic hunting rifles which Obama and Clinton planned to ban. Gun shop owners now face a significant drop in demand, and big challenges in shifting their excess stock.
Sales amongst some sections of the population are, however, up. The National African American Gun Association has seen a large surge in demand, with some fearing that the new administration’s divisive politics could lead to violence. In addition, new chapters are opening across the country, including one in Bowie, Maryland, that only began last month but already has 55 members.
Though many disagreed with the Obama administration’s stance on gun control, many gun shop owners privately admit that its policies were great for business. Many shops and companies have grown over recent years, with sales of AR-15s and other semi-automatic weapons driving sales.
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