A Republican president in the White House is good for America’s Second Amendment rights, but does confidence in the continued availability on the gun market translate to less interest in purchasing them?
In the past, spikes in gun sales have been seen following the election of Democrats such as Barack Obama and waves of activity for new gun control legislation, signs that people were rushing to make sure they had guns, ammunition, and parts they feared were about to become harder to come by, more expensive, or completely banned.
But now, we might be seeing the opposite effect. Guns.com reports that the Sportsman’s Warehouse chain has seen losses in its third quarter sales, and they’re pinning the blame on a a 12.4 percent drop in demand for guns and a 19.4 percent drop in demand for ammo.
“Our third quarter results were largely in line with our expectations and reflected continued softness in firearms and ammunition as well as a shift in the timing of a planned third quarter new store opening into the fourth quarter,” [CEO John Schaeffer] said in a press release Thursday. “We again navigated a difficult operating environment but were pleased to deliver gross margin expansion … and make continued progress against our key strategic priorities as we focus on driving further market share gains.”
Strength in the retailer’s sales for modern sporting rifles and shotguns helped offset persistent weak demand post-election, Schaeffer said, citing a 6.6 percent spike in both categories over 2016 — the industry’s biggest year on record.
“We believe this reflects the more consistent trends within this area of firearms,” he said. “In terms of ammunition, the 19.4 percent decline we experienced in quarter three we believe, in large part, reflects customers’ reluctance to purchase ammunition at full price, which has risen rather dramatically over the past seven years.”
Overall, net sales for the company’s third quarter increased less than 1 percent, according to financial regulatory filings.
“As we’ve consistently said in the past, despite the short term volatility in firearm demand, the long term underlying demand trend in the hunting and shooting category remained strong compared to historical levels,” Schaeffer said. “Fueled by increased participation rates in outdoor shooting sports from more women and children and also increased firearm sales in the use category versus protection purchases.”
The company says it plans to address the situation not by cutting prices on firearms, but by making aggressive use of ammo promotions.
At Bearing Arms, Tom Knighton notes that while Democrats are currently squawking for new gun control legislation (and as TFPP reported last week, some idiot Republicans on Capitol Hill might be joining them), that alone probably won’t be enough to turn things around for gun sales:
While some may be concerned over proposed regulations, most recognize that there’s not really a viable threat to our rights. As it stands now, we have lawmakers grandstanding by proposing legislation they know won’t see the light of day. After all, even Democrats know they’ll lose seats if they really try to push an anti-gun agenda too hard.
What do you think will happen with gun sales next? Sound off below!