For a while, gun makers were undergoing what many called the “Trump Slump.” Basically, they overproduced firearms and ammunition based on the idea that Hillary Clinton would win and there would be a rush on firearms. Since the polls were telling us that’s exactly what was going to happen in the 2016 election, it made a degree of sense. However, Trump won, which meant there was a huge surplus of guns that weren’t selling. After all, Trump was backed by the NRA. Folks weren’t fearful of their gun rights being restricted.
Considering manufacturers had put out a lot of money to build all these guns that weren’t selling, a lot of companies were feeling the proverbial heat.
Guns were, of course, selling just fine. NICS checks were continuing to climb, but much of that were people getting permits and permit renewals, among other things.
However, the latest numbers for the National Shooting Sports Foundation suggest that the renewed push for gun control in 2018 was a great thing for gun makers.
Firearms manufacturers had a good year in 2018, according to a new report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF.) The industry’s main trade group says that’s in part because gun owners are concerned about increased gun regulation.
American producers pumped out nearly 7,660,772 firearms and roughly 8.1 billion rounds rounds of ammunition in 2018, according to data compiled by NSSF from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The report features preliminary numbers, which could rise as more manufacturers submit their final tallies.
More than 57% of the guns produced in 2018 were pistols or revolvers, according to the interim report, while the rest were rifles or shotguns. Manufacturers produced more than 2.8 million rifles in 2018, an increase of 193% since 1986, the first year for which the ATF makes data available.
The increase in production numbers follow a downtick in demand in 2017 after the election of now-President Donald Trump.
In other words, the increased demand not just depleted the inventory, but also justified a whole lot of manufacturing of new firearms. That’s good news for the firearm industry, at least to a point.
The downside is that if the very people driving his increased demand get their way, these companies will be out of business.
I suppose they’d really rather have decreased demand than to not be able to legally meet what demand there is.
However, if 2018 numbers look that good, then what are 2019’s numbers going to look like? The real push for gun control may have started last year, but it was mostly a rhetorical push as Democrats lacked the legislative power to try and push anything. Meanwhile, 2019 saw a Democrat-controlled House make a concerted effort to push for more and more gun control, a move that likely sparked an even greater demand.
So far, the saving grace for the gun companies is that this demand comes with almost no risk of the proposed measures seeing the light of day. At least for now.
Still, as I said, next year’s numbers should be even better for the gun companies. Let’s just hope they do a better job of reading the tea leaves over the 2020 elections and don’t get caught unawares this time around. None of us want to see that happen again.