Bloomberg reported Thursday that slumping assault-rifle sales are a sign that any new gun control legislation is truly perceived as doomed, as gun owners once alarmed by an impending ban have stopped stocking up on firearms.
“There’s not an immediate fear the government’s going to take them away so sales are back to a more traditional pace,” said Jim Hornsby, owner of a suburban Atlanta gun shop, told Bloomberg.
The lack of political will in Congress and unrelenting lobbying from groups like the National Rifle Association appears to have eased anxiety over a fresh assault weapons ban, and stifled the demand for the product, which saw a huge boom after talk of new legislation.
“The best thing for firearms demand is to have the constant threat of legislation without ever actually having the legislation,” Andrea James, analyst for the investment bank Dougherty & Co., told Bloomberg.
Prices for rifles have receded and sales figures for large manufacturers have taken a huge hit: Bloomberg noted that arms giants like Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger have slashed revenue projections. The former's sales dove 23 percent, the bulk of which was due to shrinking rifle sales.
One bright spot for the arms industry: Handgun sales are up thanks to an uptick in female gun owners and “concealed-carry” permits.