President Donald Trump promised to revive manufacturing in the United States, but there’s one once-burgeoning sector poised to shrink under his watch: the gun industry.
Fears of government limits on guns – some real, some perceived – led to a surge in demand during President Barack Obama’s tenure and manufacturers leapt to keep up. Over the decade ending in 2015, the number of U.S. companies licensed to make firearms jumped a whopping 362 per cent. But sales are down and the bubble appears to be bursting with a staunch advocate for gun rights in the White House and Republicans ruling Congress.
“The trends really almost since Election Day or election night have been that gun sales have slacked off,” said Robert Spitzer, political science department chairman at State University of New York at Cortland. “When you take away Barack Obama and you give the Republicans control of both houses of Congress, which is extremely friendly to the gun lobby, then the political pressure subsides. And that surely is at least a key part of the explanation for the drop-off in sales.
The pendulum swing is not lost on employees of outfits such as Battle Rifle Co., a small enterprise tucked into a nondescript strip mall outside Houston, with a storefront section featuring cases filled with handguns and walls lined with assault rifle-style long guns. The manufacturing floor and its eight employees, all veterans of the military or law enforcement, occupy the back.