President Barack Obama has been referred to as “salesman of the year” for the gun industry. The nickname is likely to stick around, considering that gun sales are expected to rise like a speeding bullet now that he’s been reelected.
Though they’d probably never admit to it, gun manufacturers and weapons retailers might have secretly been rooting for a second term for President Obama. Why? The presence of Obama in the White House—or merely the thought that he could be commander in chief—has consistently been a trigger for soaring sales of guns and ammo.
From November 2008 through March 2009, FBI background checks for gun purchases were up 29% compared to the same period a year prior. For November—the month Obama won the presidential election in historic fashion—background checks rose 42%, the largest jump ever recorded during the decade the system has been in effect.
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Similarly, through early 2012, with the prospect of another four years of Obama approaching, gun and ammunition sales increased sharply again, especially for certain semiautomatic assault rifles. As for explanations of why sales have spiked, industry analysts and surveys among gun buyers all point to fears that the Obama administration would introduce tougher gun control regulations. The idea is that anyone interested in buying a gun (or several dozen) should act before it’s too late.
Now that President Obama has earned another four years and no longer has to worry about running for reelection, gun enthusiasts may be especially scared that it’ll be difficult if not impossible to get their hands on certain kinds of firearms and rifles. Background checks rose 18.4% in October, reports the Los Angeles Times, and it’s no coincidence that the stock price of shares of gun manufacturers like Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger and Co. got a major boost on Wednesday—the day after election day.
A second term for Obama means surging gun sales, according to analysts cited by Bloomberg News:
James Barrett, an analyst at CL King & Associates, raised his rating on Smith & Wesson to buy and Southport, Conn.-based Sturm Ruger to strong buy in separate notes to clients Wednesday. He had previously had neutral ratings on both companies.
“President Obama’s re-election will be very positive for gun sales in the coming months,” wrote Barrett, who is based in New York.
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But are the fears of gun buyers justified? While there is much speculation that President Obama will push for a ban on assault weapons during his second term, his first four years weren’t marked by much in the way of restricting access to guns. Per Reuters:
“The administration has not really lifted a finger in the last four years to tighten gun control legislation,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Rommel Dionisio, who covers the gunmakers. “There is a consumer fear that Obama will tighten gun control legislation, but whether or not they will do it this time I don’t know,” Dionisio said.