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NAT’L – RETAILERS – Gun Sales Soared in August: Has the Recovery Finally Arrived?

As talk of gun control increased among presidential candidates in the wake of several shootings, the number of criminal background checks on potential gun buyers soared in August. The month is one that typically sees gun sales rise as the industry exits the historically slow summer months and heads into the more active fall hunting season. But this year, the number spiked 15% higher, marking the largest monthly gain in three years and the highest total for August since such data was first tracked (over two decades of data). Whether it’s the raw numbers from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System or the adjusted figures from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (to account for gun owners who already possess a carry permit and are checked again to make sure they’re still eligible — an adjustment that gives a better indication of actual consumer demand), August was a big month for the industry, one that could finally shake it out of its doldrums. The signs of a rebound have been slowly building. It might not be apparent from looking at the financial performance of the two biggest gun manufacturers, American Outdoor Brands (NASDAQ:AOBC), the owner of Smith & Wesson, and Sturm, Ruger (NYSE:RGR), which have been punished by the market for soft sales, but the background check data has been coalescing and indicating the decline has reached a bottom. While tragedy is not what the gun makers hope for as they seek out growth, it’s a somewhat predictable outcome as gun control makes headlines. Even President Trump, whose election precipitated the industry decline, has indicated a willingness to “do something” on guns.  [full article]

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