Gun Sales Hinge on Obama Re-Election

by
September 15, 2012

By SHELLY BANJO, The Wall Street Journal

As Cabela’s Inc. prepares the selection of guns it will sell for the holiday season and winter hunting, the outdoor-gear retailer has two plans: one if President Barack Obama is re-elected, and one if he isn’t.

The Sidney, Neb.-based retailer and other companies in the guns-and-ammo business say if Mr. Obama wins a second term they are preparing for a surge in sales—the same as they saw after he was elected in 2008—from buyers fearful the president would back policies to make buying a gun more difficult. If Republican challenger Mitt Romney wins, though, the chain plans to stock more items such as waterproof boots and camouflage hunting gear.

“If Mitt Romney is elected and there’s no perceived threat on the freedom to own guns, people might decide to spend disposable income on things like outerwear instead,” said Joe Arterburn, a Cabela’s spokesman.

Even though there haven’t been any substantial changes to gun-control laws under Mr. Obama, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. SWHC -2.41% and Olin Corp., OLN +0.52% the maker of Winchester bullets, are anticipating another bump in sales this winter if President Obama is re-elected.

Smith & Wesson raised its full-year sales forecast last week to $530 million to $540 million, up from its previous estimates of $485 million and $505 million, citing strong consumer demand that led to a 30% jump in the number of firearms sold in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the year before.

Catalin Abagiu for The Wall Street Journal
Cabela’s gets about a fifth of its revenue from firearms and ammo. Above, a collectible revolver at a Cabela’s store in Dundee, Mich.

Closely-held Bass Pro Shops said it also expects gun sales to ramp up heading into the 2012 election, but declined to disclose sales figures.

To read more, visit:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444433504577651393759726660.html?mod=WSJ_hppMIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsSecond

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