Modern technology industries tend to plow forward at lighting speeds, but the gun industry seems to have largely stagnated. Guns today are not all that different than they were a 100 years ago. Sure, big improvements have been made in accuracy, reliability, and the ability to mass produce quality firearms, but the firing mechanisms, gas systems, and ammunition is basically the same stuff that our grandfathers shot at Nazis. That said, when I say the gun industry is in a long period of stagnation, I mean this from a technological innovation standpoint. If you look at the industry from a monetary standpoint, it is anything but stagnant.
The last five years that I’ve been going to SHOT, I keep hearing manufacturers talk about how back ordered they are. This year, one manufacturer just came out and said what we all knew to be true. They were back ordered by 60,000 units (guns) and, “it isn’t because we are such great manufacturers or marketers. The reality is that Obama helped us out a lot,” the executive told me.
Candid remarks like this remind me of something that musician Marilyn Manson said about music back when I was a teenager, stating that the controversial nature of rock music, is that it really thrives when a conservative Republican is in office. Well, when a liberal Democrat is in office, it is the gun industry that cashes in. The reason why is that Democrats threaten increased gun control measures, so people rush out to buy guns thinking that whatever it is that they want is about to be made illegal.
Some of these reactions are warranted, as measures like the Assault Weapons Ban made some types of weapons and accessories illegal but fears about gun control quickly cross into completely irrational behavior. I remember sitting down one year with the manufacturer of a rifle scopes. He said that they were back ordered six months because people were panic buying everything related to weapons out of a paranoid fear of new legislation. This was not long after the Sandy Hook shootings.
I think it is fair to say that the vast majority of the attendees at the SHOT show are not Obama supporters. To many, Obama is the arch-nemesis of our second amendment rights. That may be, but it is undeniable that Obama is the absolute best thing that could have happened to the gun industry in recent years. In his speeches about stimulating the economy and creating jobs, this is probably not what Obama had in mind!
Gun owners across America will breath a big sigh of relief when Obama is out of office, but I have to wonder if the gun companies, and the NRA will secretly miss him.