President Trump has made it clear: he is a friend to the second amendment. During his campaign, he was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, and now that he is in office, he has taken actions such as removing an Obama administration rule which flagged Social Security recipients and those unable to pay their own finances in the national background check database.
With President Trump in the Oval Office and with a Republican majority in the House and Senate, the likelihood of gun-friendly policies is high. But do gun-friendly law makers translate to gun sales?
Steve Burns, the manager of LSG Tactical Arms in Lubbock said that national politics and Trump’s presidency certainly impact his gun sales.
“This is a place that can have some rather long political discussions and our customers are quite vocal about that, as are we,” he explained.
Burns discussed a trend in gun shopping he calls “panic buys.” He explained that when the threat of more gun regulations increase, there is a surge of people purchasing weapons– especially weapons they are concerned about losing.
Democratic lawmakers who don’t have pro-gun agendas have a way of sparking those “panic buys.”
“People were very much scared of the potential things that Hilary [Clinton] could have done, but in reality Obama sold quite a lot of guns for quite a lot of companies, including ours,” Burns said. “Anything that was labeled as high capacity, what we like to call modern sporting rifles, primarily semi-automatic firearms that can hold a lot of ammunition. There was a lot of talk that all of those would be banned like they have in the several of the non-gun friendly states and luckily now we’re not going to see that materialize.”
Burns said with the federal gun laws Trump has lifted, gun owners now have to “jump through fewer hoops in the background check” to get a weapon.
But with President Trump in the White House, Burns said that fewer people are purchasing those high capacity weapons.
“Overall the ‘panic buys’ that we see whenever there is a political scare or an elections scare, all of that has died down so we’re kind of back to things as usual, things as normal,” Burns said. “No longer are people scrambling trying to get things they are afraid will be banned. They’re now back to buying for their normal use, recreation, recreational shooting, hunting, home protection, self defense, concealed carry.”
Michael Palmer, who is a certified handgun license instructor in Lubbock said that the changes national politics impact his classes as well.
“After the election, people have definitely taken an interest in License-to-Carry, but have I seen a direct increase in class numbers? No. But have I seen an increase in inquiries? Yes,” Palmer said.
Palmer said that while it is reassuring for those who love the second amendment to see someone who is pro-gun in the White House, he still remains vigilant for any potential future threats to gun rights.
As an avid gun enthusiast, Palmer has noticed that many manufacturers overstocked on sporting rifles in the anticipation of a possible Hilary Clinton presidency.
“Now that she didn’t get elected, and we have a president that’s fairly friendly to firearms, there are a lot of manufacturers that are sitting on a lot of those guns and selling them at very reasonable prices,” he said.
Burns has noticed this change as well, adding that sporting rifle prices are consequently the lowest he’s seen in over a decade.
The FBI conducts background checks any time someone tries to buy a gun from a federally licensed dealer. According to FBI firearm background statistics, the number of background checks in September, October and November of 2016 (during the campaign), was greater than the previous year. But in the months after the election (December 2016 and February, January of 2017) the number of firearm background checks was less than the previous year.