Gun owners feel safe with President Trump by their side — a little too safe for firearm manufacturers' liking.
Thanks to what they feel are guaranteed Second Amendment rights under Trump, gun buyers aren't stocking up on AR-15s, The Wall Street Journal reports. The "Trump slump," as executives are calling it, has notably led to a 50 percent drop in long gun revenue for Smith & Wesson's parent company from 2016 to 2017.
Americans never used to love AR-style rifles, the Journal points out. But Democratic proposals to ban the gun after mass shootings turned former President Barack Obama into "the best AR-15 salesman there was," gun dealer Chris Waltz tells the Journal. An even bigger spike came as a Hillary Clinton presidency loomed in 2016, leading to the production of about 2.3 million rifles and nearly 12 million total firearms. A 2017 marketing report even encouraged manufacturers to target "anxious buyers" worried about a government that supported gun control.
During the Obama years, Waltz saw a business boom that helped him afford a boat and an RV. But Trump's presidency caused an immediate drop in sales, he told the Journal. While there is no data on sales for the whole industry, background checks are down 11 percent, per FBI analysis. As a Maine gun manufacturer put it, there's just no "fear-based market" pushing gun lovers to stock up anymore.
Read more about dwindling gun sales at The Wall Street Journal.