American gun companies have seen sales drop in 2017, a trend that is being blamed on the election of President Donald Trump.
In 2016, gun sales rose amid expectations that Hillary Clinton, an advocate of stricter gun control, would win the presidential election, The Guardian reported.
With the victory of Trump, who enjoyed the support of the National Rifle Association and opposes gun control legislation, the pressure to buy weapons appears to have subsided.
American Outdoor Brands, formerly known as Smith & Wesson, announced gun revenues were down 48 percent in the second quarter as compared to the same period in 2016. Long gun shipments dropped by 57 percent, while handgun sales saw close to a 35-percent decline.
However, Mike Bazinet, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, argued that the gun industry should not be too pessimistic.
"2017 is still a very strong year by historic standards and, in fact, we are on track to see the second or third highest year since the [background check] system began," he added, according to The Guardian.
The NRA is pushing for legislative changes meant to boost the gun market, including by deregulating the sale of silencers. Gun control advocates say this would be a dangerous move, arguing that the wide availability of silencers would make it more difficult for police officers to do their jobs. They also say it could make the tracking of mass shooters more difficult.
American Outdoor Brands recently purchased Gemtech, a manufacturer of silencers.
"We view this acquisition as somewhat opportunistic, allowing us to enter the suppressor category prior to the potential favorable changes in legislation and at a time when the market is particularly soft," said James Debney, president of American Outdoor Brands.
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, is strongly opposed to the proposed change in regulation.
"With gun sales dropping steeply, it's not surprising the NRA leadership and its allies in Congress want to make it easier for gun companies to sell silencers," stated Feinblatt. "This legislation would put gun company profits over public safety."
The NRA hopes to secure the legislative change with the help of Republicans in Congress and Trump, who received $50 million in support from the pro-gun organization during the 2016 election campaign.
"You came through for me and I'm going to come through for you," Trump said at the NRA national conference after his election victory.
Trump has appointed leading NRA member Susan LaPierre to the board of the U.S. National Park Foundation, according to the Independent. Reports suggest that the appointment could be part of the Trump administration's push for the National Park Foundation to overturn regulations implemented in 2015 to protect predators living in the parks.
Rules that could possibly be targeted include one banning the hunting of bears with bait and another prohibiting the killing of cubs or mother bears with cubs.
Sources: The Guardian, The Independent / Featured Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Michael Vadon/Wikimedia Commons, Shealah Craighead/Whitehouse.gov via Wikimedia Commons