Barack Obama’s election and reelection were boons for the gun industry, and firearms manufacturers were gearing up for another banner year with the expectation of a Hillary Clinton victory.
Gun sales have been hitting records around Black Friday, the holiday season and, sadly, after mass shootings that make headlines around the country. Some of this is driven by people’s feeling that they need to protect themselves, but another big factor is the fear of scarcity. People see a Democratic electorate or a tragedy like the Sandy Hook shootings and assume more restrictive gun regulations are coming down the pike, so they rush out and stock up.
“Fear of gun regulation… has been a major driver of gun sales over the past eight years,” Wedbush analyst James Hardiman told Bloomberg. The FBI has already processed nearly as many background check requests — 22.2 million — in first 10 months of 2016 alone as it did in all of 2015.
Now things are likely to be different, since people not expecting gun control legislation from a Republican president and Congress don’t have an imperative to rush out and buy guns. While Trump touted his endorsement from the National Rifle Association frequently on the campaign trail, he’s not doing gunmakers any favors by winning the election. While industries like construction, biotech and private prisons saw their stocks rise on Wednesday, companies like Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger & Co. fell sharply, dropping by 15% and 16%, respectively.