Trump Slump? 2017 Second Biggest Year Ever For Gun Sales

2017 Gun Sales. Photo via The Blaze

The FBI has released the final numbers for 2017 gun sales.  While 2016’s sales record of 27 million still stands, last year’s 25,235,215 comes in second by a mere eight percent.  While the mainstream media claimed a steep decline in firearm sales, those fake news reports proved nothing more than wishful thinking. From the Washington Post (where Democracy dies in darkness):

— Sales of guns and ammunition in the United States have dropped precipitously since Election Day, according to FBI statistics, trade groups, gun shop owners and corporate reports, what many say is the result of electing a president who has vowed to protect gun rights.

Sales of guns and ammunition dropped precipitously? If eight percent is a precipitous drop, what does the Washington Post consider the 17 percent loss of Democrats in the US Senate under Barack Obama? Or the 24 percent fewer Democrats in Congress in that same time?

And speaking of precipitous drops, how about the 48 percent decline in accidental firearms deaths from 1999 to 2015? Doesn’t 48 percent sound a lot closer to ‘precipitous’ than eight percent? The LA Times reports:

Gun violence has received no shortage of attention. But one bright spot has gotten much less: the number of accidental shooting deaths has steadily declined.

There were 489 people killed in unintentional shootings in the U.S. in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. That was down from 824 deaths in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Taking into account population growth over that time, the rate fell 48%.

Gun Sales set records

But more guns equals more accidental deaths, according to Harvard’s allegedly vaunted Injury Control Research Center. However, reality doesn’t square with Harvard’s junk science.

From 2000 to 2015, Americans have purchased 216 million guns from dealers. Despite adding all these guns, accidental gun deaths plummeted precipitously 48 percent!  Only the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and its doctor of deceit David Hemenway could argue with a straight face that more guns equals more accidental deaths.

Only fools believe fake news. While some companies have struggled, others have flourished, just as with any industry.


  1. avatar Gman says:

    I did my part, bought four in 2017.

    1. avatar Stereodude says:

      I won’t get into numbers, but I definitely did my part in 2017. 2018 is looking to be a more down year for me since I crossed off much of my wishlist last year.

    2. avatar LazrBeam says:

      Only four? Gotta pick up the pace, young man. Freedom depends on it. I’m pretty much through for myself (until the next candy comes along I just HAVE to have) and am now acquiring for my three boys. Buying for three can get a bit pricey. So, gotta be prepared for sales.

  2. avatar Harm Uden says:

    I don’t understand the discrepancy of NICS checks numbers to the account of slow sales from the gun shops. For example, Tim of Military Arms Channel discusses the noticable slow-down of gun sales he has experienced in his own gun shop. Some of the gun shops in my area have similar sentiments. So, who is lying?

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Because the post election slump is big and real. Guns are still selling, just at dramatically lower prices.
      The real number to look at is not number of NICS checks but profits and revenue from manufacturers and retailers, which are way down from the previous banner years.

      1. avatar Saul R says:

        FWIW, from Ruger’s financial statements…at work so can’t do American Brands. Everyone looks bad compared to 2016:

        Year … Net Sales … Diluted earnings
        2017 … 404.0 … 2.32
        2016 … 502.5 … 3.48
        2015 … 398.7 … 2.33
        2014 … 421.9 … 2.69
        2013 … 506.4 … 4.25
        2012 … 350.1 … 2.58
        2011 … 235.6 … 1.56
        2010 … 191.1 … 1.18

        *Net sales in hundreds of millions for the 1st 3 months of that FY (Ruger’s Q4 2017 report is forthcoming).
        Earnings = per share.

  3. avatar FedUp says:

    The price elasticity of demand is pretty low.
    When demand goes up, prices can skyrocket before people who really want a gun quit buying.

    When demand goes down a little (2017), prices can drop a lot to tempt buyers to bite on common mass production guns, especially buyers who know that it’s cheaper than last month and might be even cheaper next month.

    1. avatar Gman says:

      Worked on me. LGS M&P Shield, 9mm $319. S&W rebate +4 mags & 100 rounds of SD ammo – Free.

  4. avatar Bill says:

    The author has made the mistake of comparing apples to oranges. NICS talks in numbers of background checks. Dealers and manufactures look at sales in dollars.

    You can have a record number of background checks and a decline in sales dollars at the same time.

    There was a lot of deep discounting this year in firearms market place so sales dollars declined which was made worse by a drop the number of people buying which was reflected in the NICS background check numbers.

  5. avatar David says:

    It may be possible that people in gun friendly states/areas are already stocked up and those in gun unfriendly states/areas are the ones buying. State by state NICS stats might shed some light.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Good point. How did California sales in late 2017 compare to late 2015?

  6. avatar Gunrunner says:

    I’m in the business.

    Volume-wise, I agree that this was definitely the second best gun sales year ever.

    Dollar-wise, 2013 was second with everyone buying every rifle in sight.

    This year, the manufacturers, especially S&W, were dumping guns like crazy. With speculator dealers having bet on Hillary dumping like crazy too, margins weren’t that great on bread and butter stuff like Shields. The only rifles that moved in volume were M&P 15 Sports (really cheap) and SA SAINTS (not as cheap but a good value).

    So, in 2017, I saw consumers buying up a lot of stuff at crazy low prices -sometimes below normal wholesale cost. On the other hand, the economy was good and many people were feeling better than they have in years so many splurged on things they had wanted for a while. Sig Legions, IWI Tavors, SCAR’s, FNX 45’s, Five Sevens, MPX’s, MCX’s did pretty well. Besides Sig 320’s, not a ton moved in the middle.

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    2017 was a good year for gun sales. However, due to unrealistic expectations (can you really imagine Hildebeast ever becoming POTUS? I can’t), the slight fall-off in sales caused the rending of garments and hysterical wailing within the firearms community.

    I’m also in the business, and business is pretty good but not great. Gun prices held fairly steady, but discerning buyers gave up their panicky ways to take advantage of sale opportunities. My biggest selling rifle by volume was the Ruger 10/22 carbine at a price of $199.99. Not a bad price at all, but it’s a price that was also available from time to time during the boomiest of boom years.

    Ammo prices have come back down to near Earth, but that’s because they were in the stratosphere. Prices are still higher than before the Great Ammunition Extinction of 2012, but there are good sale prices around.

    After getting hosed since Sandy Hook, buyers have gotten a more canny and have become unwilling to pay through their lungs for guns and ammo. Good!

    So the Trump Slump is mostly a myth, even if a certain blog that shall not be mentioned fell in love with the sound of the phrase and beat that dead horse to death.

  8. avatar Cundalini says:

    Just imagine the number of rifles and handguns that were built in garages in 2017… We’ll never know, but i bet it’s an all time high!

  9. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I purchased one or more firearms in 2017. And it seems like all of my extended family members purchased one or more firearms in 2017.

    I imagine that people purchased a few less firearms in 2017 than 2016.

  10. avatar former water walker says:

    I did my bit and bought 3 gun in 2017. And I have plans for several more in 2018. If the Hildebeast had won I planned on going in debt. Thankyou DJT…mebbe a Ruger ec9s and/ or a Security 9. And a cheap AR.

  11. avatar David Deplorable says:

    I certainly did my best. My wife reads TTAG, so I won’t be writing specifics. Yes, I bought some deals I might have passed up on in prior years.

    Dealers and manufacturers can’t get confiscatory prices any longer. I am okay with that. Especially after manufacturers here in IL tried to screw us on dealer licensing.

  12. avatar Rigor Mortis says:

    I did my bit in 2017, purchased 6 firearms.

  13. avatar DaveR says:

    Two problems with this post:

    1) Volume sales mask the deep price cuts that manufactures extended during 2017–gun makers were basically daring people NOT to buy

    2) While hte 8 percent drop in sales doesn’t seem “precipitious” it is the largest year-to-year drop over all the data presented (ie since 1999). Next next biggest drop was the 6% drop that ocurred between 1999 and 2000.

    1. avatar Scoutino says:

      Slight drops from record setting panic-driven years (remember the Y2K panic?). Not doom, more like return to business as usual.

      I bought a rifle last year to do my part. And to take advantage of great price.

  14. avatar Darkman says:

    2017 was a good year
    Bushy AR-15 EOTEC red dot
    DPMS Oracle 308 Leopold Mark V 3x9x50 and GG&G bus sights
    9MM Shield
    M&P 15/22 vortex red/grn T dot
    Several thousands rounds of various calibers gotta feed the old guns to
    2 news safes 1 for guns and 1 for ammo
    50 pounds of tannerite booming is fun
    Waiting on the paperwork for my suppressors
    See no reason 2018 won’t be just a lucrative. Plans to purchase at least 2 new handguns and 3 or 4 long guns. Mostly bolt guns

  15. avatar BLAMMO says:

    The solution to this is better marketing and penetration into the unsaturated portions of the market. Mainly the Northeast region, the coasts and urban centers throughout the country. More and better places to shoot and most importantly, cultural shift by retailers to appeal more to beginners and first-time gun buyers. Who knows how many newbs walk into a gun shop with a casual interest in shooting, are treated with disdain or contempt and walk out never to pursue it further.

    Just as the culture of safety in the community has changed over the past 50 years or so, the marketing culture must also change. WTF good is the NSSF if they can’t comprehensively promote a campaign like that?

  16. avatar Geoff says:

    I bought 3 last year. A 20 Gauge pump shotgun ( Stevens Model 320), a semi auto .22LR rifle (Savage 64F).
    I also bought a Taurus 9mm. PT111 Millennium G2.
    And I built two 5.56 AR15s and a .308Win AR10 from 80% lowers.

  17. avatar GS650G says:

    People know the next election cycle could easily bring vast changes so now that the democrats officially demand disarmament we are all on notice. Luckily prices are lower and closer to pre O days on some things so now really is a good time to stock up on ammo and get that item you were thinking about.
    I got my Henry Long Ranger I lusted after for 8 months so I’m good for a while.

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