My son just sent me a link (here) to a story in the Financial Times of London about how American gun manufacturers were betting on a Hillary Clinton win over Donald Trump to drive sales through the roof. The result of the Trump win has been all but devastating to an industry whose sales were down substantially under Barack Obama.
The Times reports: “Shares in Sturm Ruger & Co, the largest US gunmaker, have fallen more than 20 per cent since the president took office, while American Outdoor Brands, the owner of Smith & Wesson, is down 60 per cent. America’s oldest gun manufacturer, Remington Outdoor, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month.”
Clinton, the reasoning goes, would have scared hell out of gun owners, sending them on an orgy of buying to avoid legislation that would make guns harder to get. Gun sales traditionally have gone up when there have been mass shootings or Democrats elected to office, even though those Democrats are doing absolutely nothing to stem the tide of sales. Sales are inspired by fear. A Gallup Poll concluded recently that “About 42 per cent of households owned a gun in 2017, down from 51 per cent in 1993,” according to the FT story. That’s a hell of a lot of guns in a country where 300 million guns are owned.
The FT reported that “Remington, for one, had prepared for a boom in sales, including of its Bushmaster AR-15 style assault rifle,” the one most used in school killings, which “has been a target of gun control advocates.” An Aegis Capital financial analyst is reported to have concluded, “Before the election, everyone thought Hillary was going to win and she had promised to tighten gun control. Companies like Remington expected people to stock up. But that didn’t happen.”
Gun critics have for years talked about how the National Rifle Association is little more than a marketing agent for gun manufacturers and this report is a clear indication of that. The worse the news on the gun front, the more guns are sold, which leaves manufacturers in the embarrassing (if not frightening) position of supporting mass murder–whether intentionally or not.