While I saw no obvious evidence of sales slack during my recent tour of Smith & Wesson’s Springfield factory, there’s no shortage of reports corroborating the general impression that the post-Newtown sales boom is well and truly over. In the sales panic that followed – which was really just an extension of the longer-running Obama-fueled sales boom – just about everyone who had even thought about purchasing a firearm found the disposable income to pick one up, no matter the price. But that demand surge has now cooled leaving excess production capacity and fully-stocked shelves — with the possible exception of ammo. To wit: the latest sales figures released by publicly traded Ruger, above, as reported by qz.com. The Southport, Connecticut-based manufacturer reported . . .
a 14% decrease in revenue, fueled at least in part by a drop in ancillary sales. As Ruger CEO Michael Fifer told listeners on the the company’s quarterly earnings call,
Our accessories business is much, much smaller than our firearms business, and last year, however, it spiked because [the politicians] were all trying to grab a headline and they were going [to] limit magazine sales, for example. And so what did the consumers do: they went out of their way to buy every magazine they could get their hands on, for fear that it would be outlawed, and they wanted to get them so they could be grandfathered.
He noted that NICS check volume is down 12% as well. So yes, gun sales are regressing back to the mean, something the laws of economics dictated had to happen eventually. And while the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex seems to have gotten the message that further movement on gun control – at least at the federal level – just isn’t in the cards, another incident and a renewed push for an assault weapons ban, magazine capacity limits or both could turn all of that around.