President-elect Donald Trump is expected to push to relax gun laws when he takes office, but significant changes in the firearms industry began as soon as he was elected – and some put the law of unintended consequences squarely in the cross hairs.
For instance, while Trump’s unapologetic pro-Second Amendment stance may be good for gun owners, it has already dealt a blow to manufacturers, who enjoyed record sales throughout President Obama’s eight years in office. Stocks in companies like Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co. plunged on Nov. 9, and experts say it is because Trump’s election erased fears that guns would become harder to get.
“A lot of people were buying guns simply because they were worried Hillary Clinton’s regulations would make it more costly and more difficult to buy guns, and people are not going to feel quite the need to go out and buy guns now,” Crime Prevention Research Center President John Lott told FoxNews.com. “I think the stock market is a pretty good predictor of what’s going to happen, and the fact that you see drops in stock prices by almost 20 percentage points –I think that’s pretty significant.”
While the government does not publish an official number of gun sales, background checks, a gauge of how many people try to buy guns, skyrocketed under President Obama. In 2008, 12.71 million background checks were conducted, a number on pace to double this year, to set an all-time record.
The prospect of a pro-gun control administration of Hillary Clinton following Obama, together with a campaign that put gun rights in the spotlight, was the likely driver of the firearms boom, acknowledged Joshua Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. But he was skeptical that a rise in 2016 gun sales or an anticipated dip in the coming year will have a major effect on crime.