by Dave Workman | Senior Editor
A recent story in the Washington Post reported that in the first couple of months following the election of Donald Trump as president, firearm and ammunition sales “dropped precipitously,” but a careful reading of data from the FBI’s National Instant Check System suggests things were not so bad.
Indeed, the story as it appeared in the Portland (ME) Press Herald said this: “Gun clubs and shops that cater to black and LGBT clients say there has been an uptick in interest in firearms since November among those who fear that racial and gender-based violence could increase during Trump’s presidency.”
That was interesting because it reflected an interesting socio-political turn for groups traditionally taken for granted as being liberal and therefore anti-gun.
A record was set in December 2015 when the FBI conducted 3,314,594 NICS checks. This does not translate to one-on-one sales data, according to a caveat on the FBI’s website. But the number is a strong indicator of firearms sales.
In December 2016, NICS checks had fallen to 2,771,159, a decline of only about a half-million. But in January, there were only 2,043,184 checks conducted (as opposed to 2.545,802 checks in January 2016) and in February there was a slight uptick to 2,234,817 (down from the 2,613,074 in February 2016).
According to the story, stock value fell at publicly-traded companies, and sales of modern sporting rifles—the so-called “assault weapons” that anti-gunners want banned—had also declined in the election aftermath. That was predictable because many people were buying firearms in anticipation of a November victory for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had made it clear early in the campaign she would push for stricter gun control. She had literally declared war on the so-called gun lobby, which proved to be a critical error because gun owners came out to vote in several key states.
But with Trump in the White House, another interesting situation has developed.
The story quoted Philip Smith, president of the National African American Gun Association (NAAGA). He told the newspaper that there is a concern among his members that “divisive politics” could descend into violence.
That already happened at a pro-Trump rally in Berkeley, CA, in early March where counter-protesters clashed with Donald Trump supporters. Likewise in Olympia on the same day, four people were arrested when violence erupted at the Capitol campus, according to the Seattle Times.
The press was careful not to blame one side or the other for starting the brawls