Donald Trump And Gun Sales: Weapons Purchases, Makers' Stock Prices Have Dipped Since Election Donald Trump won the backing of the NRA and many gun owners by opposing limits to the Second Amendment's right to bear arms, but his election hasn't been good for the gun business.
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'Democrats Are Good For Gun Sales': Guess What Happened After Trump's Election

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'Democrats Are Good For Gun Sales': Guess What Happened After Trump's Election

'Democrats Are Good For Gun Sales': Guess What Happened After Trump's Election

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Donald Trump won the support of the National Rifle Association and many gun owners by opposing any limits to the Second Amendment's right to bear arms. Here he is at the NRA convention last May.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Now, we're going to preserve it. We're going to cherish it. We're going to take care of it, OK?

MARTIN: And while gun rights enthusiasts may be happy that Trump won, gun shop owners are feeling a financial hit. NPR's Uri Berliner explains why.

URI BERLINER, BYLINE: The economics of the gun industry are different. Most businesses are influenced by things like interest rates and consumer confidence. In the gun industry, politics and fear matter, and they matter a lot. Over the past two years, there was plenty of both to go around - terror attacks and school shootings and, of course, the presidential campaign. Guns and ammunition sold fast. Now, since Donald Trump's victory, not so much.

TOM JENKINS: On this side right here, what we've got are various types of AR-15 rifles.

BERLINER: That's Tom Jenkins of NOVA Firearms in McLean, Va. He's showing me the semiautomatic military-style weapons on a rack behind the counter of the shop.

JENKINS: And right now we have one, two, three, four, five in stock on the wall.

BERLINER: Last year, customers were worried these types of firearms would be singled out for a ban by Hillary Clinton.

JENKINS: During the political crisis, we had dozens of them downstairs, and then there would be zero, and it would go again and it'd go again. And then right up to the election, it - literally brought them in, brought them up and sold them.

BERLINER: Jenkins is an ex-cop, former military, a public radio fan - one of those rare people who talks about Donald Trump's victory without glee or despair.

JENKINS: It was interesting because it was a shock for pretty much everybody, whether you're on the conservative side or a liberal side. It was like, what's going to happen now?

JAMES HARDIMAN: What happened probably quicker than anything is that the gun-related stocks were in free fall.

BERLINER: James Hardiman follows the firearms industry for Wedbush Securities. On the day after the election, shares of gunmaker Sturm Ruger fell 14 percent, and the price of Smith & Wesson, which has changed its name to American Outdoor Brands, it fell 15 percent. Shares for both are still down while the overall stock market has enjoyed big post-election gains. All of this points to that weird dynamic in the gun business.

HARDIMAN: I think people that follow this industry know this well - but maybe people that don't, it's a little bit counterintuitive - but, generally, Democrats are very good for gun sales.

BERLINER: This fear that Democrats will make it a lot harder to buy guns has never been very likely, according to Hardiman, and the idea that they'll ban guns altogether, he calls that pure fantasy.

HARDIMAN: Nonetheless, it's fantasy that has worked in the favor of the gun industry for quite some time.

BERLINER: Those fears essentially melted away with Donald Trump's victory. Over at NOVA Firearms, Tom Jenkins says politics aren't driving the business right now. Customers are choosey. The basics of supply and demand are at work.

JENKINS: And so for the first couple of months after the election, no one's in a hurry anymore.

BERLINER: Uri Berliner, NPR News.

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