The gun industry has had a great two years of record sales, based on FBI data on background checks. According to former National Rifle Association lawyer and Independent Firearm Owners Association head Richard Feldman, many manufacturers and retailers secretly hope for a repeat performance in the next presidential cycle.
On Thursday, Businessweek’s Paul Barrett declared it the “the year of the woman,” at the 2014 Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade show, as the industry turns its attention on marketing to women. Reporting from the annual gun show, Feldman told Barrett that gun retailers look forward to reaping profits from “fear-buying” ahead of the 2016 presidential election:
The mood is upbeat, but the crazed buying frenzy of last year is over. Demand for ammunition is still unbelievably strong, but the gun makers know it’s time to market and sell product, not simply write orders that can’t possibly be filled. The next ramp-up in sales may not occur until the 2016 presidential campaign gets going in earnest. The more likely a Hillary Clinton victory looks, the more advance ‘fear buying’ will recur. While most may vote Republican, manufacturers and retailers secretly hope for a repeat of the ‘Obama surge’ that has boosted sales since 2009.
The gun lobby’s use of paranoid theories to boost gun sales has been a common tactic during the Obama administration. In both 2008 and 2012, the National Rifle Association told its members that Obama secretly planned to confiscate firearms, despite Obama’s conspicuous silence on the issue of gun violence throughout the election.
In the lull between elections, manufacturers hope to expand its consumer base by attracting women. Rather than adjust its policies to appeal to women — like supporting background checks favored by a majority of women — the gun industry now sells pink guns and bras.