The foundation of the modern firearm industry is fear. Drumming up conspiracy-drenched fear of a “politically correct” liberal government authoritarianism has been the only arrow in groups like the NRA’s quiver the past decade. Good news for the gun industry and Second Amendment “patriots” everywhere. The Senate and the Executive Branch are controlled by pro-gun, anti-liberal Republicans. Whoo-hooo! Unfortunately for conservatives everywhere, there is no such thing as good news for people with guns. Just ask the the gun sellers of America.
Business Insider reports that one of the markers of sales in the firearms industry is the number of new background checks in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Since Trump and friends came into office, the numbers have been dropping. Last year the number of background checks conducted in the system dropped 6%, and so far this year those numbers are down 8%. It’s a thoughts and prayers moment for the Second Amendment business.
Big companies, like American Outdoor, known for owning Smith & Wesson, have seen brutal drops in their sales, losing $230 million last year in handgun sales between January and April 2018. They lost half of their long gun sales as well. Industry leaders were sort of hoping that the blue wave election results of the midterms would boost sales—a truly grotesque thing to hope for. Sadly, so far that bump has not materialized. Of course, with the 2020 elections around the corner, firearms sellers are crossing their fingers that people will get scared enough to buy more guns they do not need.
The ammunition industry is also taking a big hit, but that hit has lasted even longer. Experts are having a hard time trying to figure out why people aren’t buying any bullets at all, as the industry continues to “bottom out.” I can venture a guess: no one has needed to use all of that ammo they have been stockpiling over the past 10 years waiting for the Obama Muslim caliphate to appear.
Getting the happily-ever-after Second Amendment advocates promised has been telling. The NRA is in shambles, with accusations of dubious money practices and ugly internal power dynamics. When your entire business model is based on scaring people into believing their lives are at stake by selling them the devices that put their lives at stake, you are truly playing with some of the most evil magic there is.