Brownells – Frank Talk About Guns November 2008

Meanderings From Some Crowded Minds on Guns, the Gun Industry and Gun Control
Only with numbers will we be able to push back on any legislative action – JOIN THE NRA!

Frank B – Brownells.com

Dear Folks: Around here, we've talked a lot about what may lie ahead for the gun industry. And if we thought it was almost surreal before the election, times have gotten even stranger after the election. The economy is still wildly yo-yoing and nobody can tell you where it's all going. But what we can tell you is that the firearms industry is having gang-buster sales – one of the few really bright spots in the economy right now. There is one heck of a rush to the local gun shop and online gun stores. Of course, this is panic buying… all those folks who figured “it couldn't happen”, or “I'll get a gun sometime”, are now realizing that we are going to have the most anti-gun administration this country has ever seen. One that doesn't believe or care about the second amendment being a personal right, despite the Supreme Court ruling, or their election promises, or about self-protection, or about the castle doctrine or any of those other issues we gun owners care about. So they are rushing out to buy the guns while they still can. I'm telling all my gang here to hunker down and ride out the storm. In two years we have a chance to re-do the House of Representatives; in four the Presidency, the House again and some of the Senate.

Of all the factors causing the current buying rush, the Obama-nation effect has the largest impact because of the Democratic agenda and their penchant for banning guns. The current make-up of the House and Senate, being almost filibuster-proof, also adds to the fray. Keep in mind it was the Dems who put together the most restrictive weapons ban law we have seen. Word from those in the know is that the Assault Weapons Ban will come back for a vote – hi-cap mags for rifles and handguns are just the tip of that mess – however, this time there won't be a sunset clause. They also want to close the so called “gun show loophole”, limiting private sales of firearms between individuals. We should expect the first shot across the bow not long after January 20th. They also plan to try to slip this through with little warning or discussion.

For those of you with gun shops, basement gunsmithing businesses and retail gun stores – something my Dad, Bob, told me about years ago still runs true today: When auto sales and durable goods purchases are at an all time low, our business, the gun business, will do well. It's really simple when you think about it. If people are taking part of their income to buy cars and keep their washing machine and refrigerator up-to-date, they have less disposable cash in their pocket to spend on their hobby. If they are not buying cars, houses, or expensive stuff for their homes, they do have a little left over for hobbies. Add to that “pocket change” the fact that when gas prices drop one penny at the pump, it puts one billion plus dollars back into the economy. Oddly enough the combination of all of these means the consumer has more dollars to be spending right now for less expensive items.

If you're one of those buying, buy wisely. Cheap is still cheap and often crap. Was, is, and will still be in the future. If you're buying for the future, go with the best you can manage. Go with the products which are going to last the longest.

Another odd thing has happened. We're all trying to bulk up our retirement funds. Most of those were invested in equities, that's stock market talk for “stocks”. And, frankly, the stock market got trashed. So, now the advent of the “New 401k”. Many people are reducing or stopping participation in the former programs and spending their money on something that retains its value in good times and in bad. People are buying guns. Most gun values don't seem to have gone down and they certainly haven't seen the 40-60% loss in value like our stock market has. They may be the recession proof investment plan.

From our side – the industry side – the whole industry is building up inventory as quickly as possible and filling back orders as quickly as possible. This huge demand has caught everyone flat-footed. Everything AR-related is flying off the shelves and there are ever increasing back-order positions. If the ban does go through, any extra capacity built today to handle that demand will go unused so manufacturers are being cautious and wise in their investment in building up production capabilities. What this means to all of us is that everyone is going to have to be more patient and let this all work through.

Taking all of these into account, we've seen a perfect storm created for the firearms industry. Everyone I know, which includes even some very left-leaning democrats, has purchased or is considering purchasing a firearm. The whole nation seems to clearly understand what is at stake if there is going to be some type of firearms ban in the future. They are investing now and all those new gun owners give us something to build on.

What we all have to do, manufacturers, shops, sport shooters and hunters is work together to get our message out. All those panic buyers who might not have owned an AR before can be strong allies if we get them out shooting. So, keep working with the new shooters, the kids, the ladies, the neighbors. We have to have enough participants in the shooting nation to push back. The stronger the industry, the louder our voice, the more contacts who can carry our message to the Representatives and Senators.

Which brings up the final point – and then we're through. We have got to pull together. In numbers comes our strength. So – join the NRA. Add your voice to theirs. There are twelve million of us who say we are members of the NRA, but only around four million plus who have paid dues. Only with numbers will we be able to push back on any legislative action that will ban our rights as guaranteed under the second amendment. Check your membership status now. Join up for this next twelve months, and continue to carry the economic enthusiasm you are feeling now into helping our industry survive the next four years.

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