Businesses ancillary to guns often get a shot in the arm from political efforts to clamp down on Second Amendment rights.
Representatives of businesses related to the firearms industry say that government attempts to put the brakes on firearms commerce could be having the opposite effect. At least one of them said the reason is that people will always protect themselves.
Even with the June 2022 implementation of the Biden Administration’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives zero-tolerance policies for federal firearms license holders, and increasingly strict state gun laws, there are strong indications that the firearms industry is growing.
According to the annual report, the industry’s economic impact grew by 322 percent from $19.1 billion in 2008 to $80.7 billion in 2022.
Business representatives gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 23-26 for NSSF’s annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoors Trade (SHOT) Show confirmed the report for the most part.
Scott Kempel is the operations manager for Forster Products, which is based in Lanark, Illinois.
He said the state and federal crackdown on Second Amendment rights had impacted his business.
“It certainly has, I mean, in some ways, probably the opposite of what they like,” Mr. Kempel told The Epoch Times.
Forster Products makes and sells ammunition reloading equipment and supplies and gunsmithing tools.
Mr. Kempel said part of his responsibility is to keep abreast of new laws and regulations so his company can provide the tools his customers need to work within the law.
For example, he said that as Illinois banned certain types of semi-automatic rifles, so-called “assault weapons,” this increased the demand for gunsmiths to legally alter rifles to comply with the law. This requires a tool called a “headspace gauge.”
“People are wanting to be more prepared and have the ability to switch barrels out. So, then we sell more headspace gauges,” Mr. Kempel told The Epoch Times.
According to Mr. Kempel and others, a primary motivator among consumers is the concern that a product that is legal today might be banned tomorrow.
Items, like guns, purchased before a law becomes effective are often “grandfathered,” considered legal under the new law. So, there may be a rush to buy the item before it becomes illegal.
President Joe Biden has publicly boasted about issuing more gun control executive orders than any other president. He has established the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, staffed with veterans of the gun control movement.
Vice President Kamala Harris has been placed in charge of pushing the administration’s gun safety program. This includes opening gun violence prevention offices in governor’s offices around the country. Some states have been receptive to the program.
California has passed historic gun control measures along with New York and Illinois. The Massachusetts Senate just passed one of the most comprehensive gun control measures in the country.
The leader of a long-time manufacturer of gun accessories and products said such actions are almost always good for his business.
The vice president’s office did not respond to an email seeking comment for this story.
Patrick Hogue is the CEO of Hogue Inc., which was started in 1968 by Mr. Hogue’s father, Guy Hogue. The company makes synthetic grips for pistols and stocks for rifles. It also features a line of knives and gun accessories.
Mr. Hogue said that fear is often a driver of consumer behavior. He said this has mainly been true when gun-control advocates are in power.
He said he is not surprised that Biden administration policies may be partially responsible for any uptick in business.
“Definitely the administration and the liberal agenda that always has tended to infringe and reduce our firearms privileges,” Mr. Hogue told The Epoch Times. “That causes fear, and it causes people to stock up now, you know, for the fear of not being able to buy it later.”
Alan Moloney, vice president of sales and marketing for the Dade City, Florida-based Clenzoil, said it wasn’t Biden administration firearms policies that impacted his business.
Clenzoil provides petroleum-based cleaning and lubricating products for firearms. Mr. Moloney said he is familiar with the fear-driven buying that can happen. But he said that hasn’t been as much of an issue for Clenzoil,
“What we’ve noticed is when they ever you mentioned anything gun related or gun regulation wise, it usually boosts sales because it puts people in a frenzy to go and go and buy, which you saw that a lot through the COVID days,” Mr. Moloney told The Epoch Times.
He said President Biden’s economic and energy policies have impacted his business more than the Second Amendment regulations. For 10 years, Clenzoil held its price level, but that changed.
“We had our first price increase two years ago because of the price of oil. Our product is petroleum-based. Just moving it from place A to place B has increased. That’s where I think we feel it the most, just like most people in their pocketbooks,” he said.
All the representatives said they are watching the current presidential campaign closely. They know the impact politics can have on their businesses.
Mr. Hogue said the most important thing is that people vote, stay involved, and protect their rights. When it comes to business, he said he is not as concerned.
“When it comes to defense and protection, people generally find that dollar in their pocket,” he said.