Despite many gun owners stocking up prior to the 2016 Presidential Election, firearms retailers still expect a good holiday sales season.
Like most other retailers, gun sellers thrive during the holidays. Last year’s Black Friday featured record activity for a single day, according to Federal background check data. This year, Christmas actually came early for U.S. gun shop owners. Spurred on by fears of a Hillary Clinton victory and the accompanying threat of restrictive gun legislation, U.S gun shop owners had staggering sales in the months prior to the election, but these same retailers may now be hard-pressed to match last year’s record holiday sales (December 2015 was the second busiest month ever, next to December 2012 in the face of an Obama-driven push for more restrictions). Analysts believe that this year’s holiday sales may appear to be floundering due to gun owners having stocked up in anticipation of a possible Clinton presidency. Overall, though, there’s no cause for alarm.
Federal background check data showed that gun retailers had a record October this year, the month preceding the November Presidential Election. As reported last issue, gun store traffic has fallen off substantially since Donald Trump won the presidency. The following day, November 8, shares of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp dropped 15% (but with a rebound this past week), while Sturm Ruger & Company’s stock is 17% lower.
Now, with this year’s Black Friday upon us, gun dealers say traffic is regaining momentum after the post-election drop.
“I’m not expecting it to be any slower than our normal Black Friday,” said Kellie Weeks, owner of Georgia Gun Store in Gainesville: “But if Hillary had won, we would have sold out already…”
History repeats… After Democratic candidate Barack Obama was elected in 2008, November background checks jumped 48% compared to the prior November, according to data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. By comparison, background checks rose a more modest 5% in November 2004 after Republican George W. Bush was re-elected.
The Federal background checks are the best source for factual data on gun sales, which gun manufacturers do not publicly release. This data is refined and relayed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The NSSF eliminates applications for conceal-carry permits (typically made by people who already own guns) from the data to give a better reflection of actual firearms purchases.
Through October 2016, background checks are up 15% compared to the same time last year, suggesting another a strong year of overall sales.
Wall Street expects Smith & Wesson’s revenue to increase 28% in 2016 and 11% next year, based on data from Thomson Reuters.
Let’s relax a little and go buy the guns that we really want to have, and let’s get back to enjoying that pursuit. It’s a far better feeling to buy something you’ve always wanted rather than something you might not be able to ever get again… So what’s on your Christmas shopping list?