The Keefe Report: Gun Sales and External Forces

posted on January 19, 2016

As this is written, I am packed in steerage in the back of full flight on the way to the 2016 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show. And it promises to be a SHOT show like no other due to the market conditions brought on by external events. While acts of ISIS-inspired terror have occurred on United States soil, the president has chosen to target lawful firearm ownership through executive action rather than system of government that has been the basis of United States of America for a couple of centuries. Instead of working with the elected representatives of the people, Barack Obama has decided to go it alone through executive actions that, among other things, confuse what the definition of gun dealer may or may not be. Under his Torquamada-esqe executive order, you may be a "gun dealer" even if you sell even one gun. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

While the president wants more restrictions on law-abiding guns owners—while at the same time decreasing prosecutions for those who attempt to buy firearms illegally from a dealer by more than 40 percent and releasing criminal illegal aliens into our society—Americans are voting on his words and actions with their pocket books. In response to the president's call for "looking at" the gun control of other "civilized nations" such as England and Australia (where lawfully owned and registered guns were confiscated from their owners—you can't buy back something that was not yours, Mr. President). Americans are buying guns in record numbers. NICS checks were at all time high for December 2015, and odds are January 2016 will be even higher. This surge in demand came on the heels of  previous all-time highs driven by the president previously pushing restrictions on honest gun owners.

The introduction of new products in previous years has been hampered by unprecedented demand. You can't swap tooling out to produce new models when you need to run your machines 24/7 to fill existing orders of already in production models. This year, the new products, which drive success in most large gun makers in soft years—and sales over the summer were very soft in quite a few categories—were already in the pipeline when speeches by Obama and the Brady Campaign-endorsed Hillary Clinton poured gasoline on firearm demand. With Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Who? all trying to come across as more anti-gun rights than the other, this does nothing to assuage the fears of law-abiding Americans who see the news footage of terror attacks around the world and around the country. From Boston to San Bernadino, these events have sparked increases in both gun sales and Right-to-Carry permit applications across the country.

Bills to ban semi-automatic rifles have been introduced on the federal level and in state houses all across the country. And sales of those rifles, which had been flat, have spiked and are flying off dealer shelves. Companies that had their very survival threatened by warehouses full of inventory they couldn't sell are now rehiring workers and running full bore. How many of the new models will be put on hold remains to be seen. With lean manufacturing and increased capacity, today's gun companies are more nimble than ever before, capable of delivering on the new models announced this week.

The American people are smart. A politician who says "I believe in the Second Amendment" (it's a fundamental natural right, not the Easter Bunny) and "I don't want to take anyone's guns away" while praising confiscation in other nations and putting in motion executive orders instead of legislation “we can all agree on” hardly seems credible. Americans are voting with their wallets and 4473s now; later in the year they will do it at the ballot box.



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