Anti-gunners who voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton expecting her to hammer the Second Amendment community should be rejoicing that their candidate lost and Donald Trump is in the Oval Office.
After all, that’s sort of the message one takes away from a Fortune article that reported Monday a sales slump in firearms, and gave credit to Trump’s electoral victory in 2016. But it may only seem that way to anti-gunners, because the Trump presidency just might turn their anti-gun dream into a nightmare.
The article says the firearms industry has reported a sharp decline in 2017 gun sales, explaining that this is “a phenomenon that the industry is informally dubbing its ‘Trump slump.’” It should be enough to make liberal gun prohibitionists stop thinking of Trump as the anti-Christ.
On Monday, the National Shooting Sports Foundation released its NSSF-adjusted National Instant Check System (NICS) background check data for August. The adjusted numbers show an 11.3 percent decline in NICS checks from August 2016, as they relate to gun sales. Last month, the NSSF adjusted figure for checks is 1,022,227. The FBI reported 1,925,146 NICS checks for the month, adding this caveat: “These statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold. Based on varying state laws and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.”
The NSSF adjusted figure is an effort to translate the data into an actual sales figure.
What is happening seems simple enough to explain. Trump poses no threat to the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. The same could not be said for Clinton, who is spending her time these days blaming everyone and everything under the sun for her stunning loss in November.
Last year was a record-breaker with 27,538,673 NICS checks reported by the FBI. The prevailing wisdom is that this was spurred by an anticipation of a Clinton landslide. But Hillary forgot to campaign in the take-for-granted states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and further she forgot that gun owners do not react like lapdogs when a political candidate declares war on their rights.
Fortune called last year’s record gun sales the result of industry playing on gun owner paranoia. It is not paranoia when a political candidate has publicly acknowledged she is out to get you.
Trump solidified his position with gun owners by filling the Supreme Court vacancy with Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch. If he has another opening or two on the high court, and fills lower court vacancies with pro-rights conservative judges, gun owners may relax even more.
But that’s not a signal they are asleep at the wheel. This could provide an opportunity for gun rights organizations – the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association and others – to begin aggressively challenging restrictive, and possibly unconstitutional gun laws.
Fortune called Trump’s victory a possible double-edged sword for the firearms industry. It may indeed work out that way, but not as the magazine perhaps envisions.
Strengthening the Second Amendment could easily open the door for more gun sales over the horizon as citizens lose their fear of being entrapped by gun restrictions.