Tag Archives: firearms industry

Trump Administration’s Proposed Rulemakings a Win-Win for America’s Firearms Industry, National Security

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New propsals seek to “build a taller fence around a smaller yard,” and the upshot will benefit American sportsmen, and the industries that provide for them. READ HOW

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SOURCE: NRA-ILA

On Thursday, May 24, the Trump Administration published two rulemakings designed to enhance the competitiveness of American companies in the firearms and ammunition sectors, remove burdens for small businesses, and modernize export controls for the post-Cold War era. The moves will benefit both the domestic firearms industry and improve national security. The publication of the proposals also triggered a 45-day comment period during which members of the public can provide feedback on the plans and share their own experiences with the underlying regulations.

The rulemakings are part of a larger, longstanding project to modernize America’s export regime for military and “dual-use” equipment and technology. Dual-use items are those considered to have both military and civilian applications. The governing philosophy of the project is to “build a taller fence around a smaller yard” by strengthening controls on the most militarily sensitive items while allowing less sensitive material with well-established civilian uses and markets to be subject to a more business-friendly regulatory climate.

They two big players overseeing U.S. exports are the State Department, which administers the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the U.S. Commerce Department, which handles the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The items regulated by the ITAR are on what is known as the U.S. Munitions List (USML), while those subject to the EAR are on the Commerce Control List (CCL).

Whether on the USML or CCL, however, the items are still subject to close government oversight, including the requirement in most cases that any person or entity wishing to export them to any foreign nation get a federally-issued license to do so.

Nevertheless, items on the USML controlled under ITAR are generally treated more strictly, with national and international security considerations trumping all other factors in the granting of licenses. Any business that manufactures an item on the USML, or even just a part or component of such an item, also has to register with the State Department and pay an annual fee, which is currently set at $2,250. This registration is required even if the manufacturer has no intent to ever export the items. Compliance fees, including for licenses, are also generally higher for USML items, given the complexity of the regulations and the more stringent vetting given to license applications.

Manufacturers of items on the CCL, or their parts or components, do not have to pay an annual registration fee to the Commerce Department. Moreover, regulation of these items is more flexible to promote the goal of increasing U.S. manufacturers’ and businesses’ worldwide competitiveness.

By properly apportioning export control between the two lists, the government will be able to apply maximum resources to overseeing the most consequential and sensitive equipment, while giving American businesses who manufacture consumer products a larger footprint in international markets. The result is greater security and a more robust U.S. economy.

Currently, most firearms and ammunition (with the exception of certain sporting shotguns and shotgun shells) are controlled under ITAR and the USML. This has led to a host of problems for gun-related businesses in the U.S. and made it more difficult for U.S. businesses in this sector to be competitive internationally.

First, many American firearm businesses are small operations that do not export their products and never intend to do so but still have to pay annual registration fees to the State Department because what they do is considered “manufacturing.” So if a U.S. company that manufacturers springs wants to branch out into magazine or recoil springs for firearms, for example, it has to pay the State Department’s registration fee, even if those springs are exclusively sold in the U.S.

On the other hand, if a foreign company wanted to use those springs in the firearms it manufactures abroad, it would have pay more for doing so because of all the ITAR red tape the U.S. spring maker would have to go through to export the springs. This makes the U.S. springs a less attractive option.

Two other problems that arose with the ITAR during the Obama administration concern what is considered controlled “technical data” and who is considered a regulated “manufacturer.”

As we reported at the time, part of building the “taller fence” for export control involved an initiative to tighten up rules for the “export” of “technical data.” In practice, this meant that publishers of technical information about firearms and ammunition – including exploded parts diagrams, gunsmithing tutorials, and handloading information – risked being swept up into the ITAR’s regulatory scope, particularly for items posted online.

Obama’s State Department also issued a confusing “guidance” document that expansively defined firearm “manufacturing” to include various common gunsmithing operations performed on existing firearms. This drove many smaller gunsmiths to limit or quit their business activity for fear of triggering the ITAR’s registration requirements or of incurring inadvertent violations that could bring ruinous penalties.

All of these problems would be alleviated if the Trump administration’s rules were enacted as proposed, as most non-automatic firearms of .50 caliber or less, as well as their parts, components, accessories, and magazines of up to 50 rounds capacity, would be moved from the USML to the CCL.

Another Obama-era ITAR change made it much more difficult for private individuals to travel abroad with personally owned firearms for lawful purposes such as hunting or competition because of an added requirement to document the “export” through an official website designed for commercial exporters. That requirement, unfortunately, would persist under the current version of the Commerce Department proposal but might be changed if affected parties explained their concerns during the comment period.

A further basis for comment could include the rules’ treatment of sound suppressors. Although these items are very common among hunters and recreational shooters both in the U.S. and abroad and do not provide the U.S. or its allies with any special military advantage, the published proposals would leave them on the USML.

The easiest way to file comments is through the U.S. government’s online regulatory portal, Regulations.gov. The State Department’s proposed rule and comment form are available at this link. Use this link for the Commerce Department’s proposal.

President Trump promised to be a friend to America’s gun owners, and these proposed rules show him making good on that pledge. Your input will encourage the Commerce and State departments to see these rules through to final enactment and help guide the process in the most positive direction possible. The NRA has long advocated for these changes and is extremely pleased to see progress being made toward that end.

Alabama Rated Top State For The Gun Industry, Rhode Island The Worst

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Culture, laws, and politics differences now strongly favor the southern states to lead the way in attracting members of the firearms industry. READ WHY…

gun industry

SOURCE: FOX NEWS by Keith Koffler

Red Alabama is the best state for the firearms industry when it comes to factors such as jobs and gun culture, while blue Rhode Island is the worst, according to the jobs website Zippia.

The rankings reflect the sharp regional and political divide in the country on guns.

“A general rule of thumb emerged from the data — head south if you are looking to get one of as many as 141,500 jobs generated by companies that make, distribute, and sell guns,” the website said. The advice to head south also pertained to another 159,623 jobs in ancillary industries such as gun component suppliers.

But another “rule of thumb” is also apparent: If you want a job in the gun industry, head into Trump country. Each of the study’s top ten states — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Alaska, Missouri, and Louisiana — went for President Trump in the 2016 presidential election, most of them decisively. Of the ten worst states for the industry — Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont, Washington, New York Wisconsin, North Dakota, Maine, Nebraska, and Massachusetts — Hillary Clinton won seven.

“There’s a very strong correlation between people being conservative or liberal and what their views are on guns,” said Dr. John R. Lott Jr., one of the nation’s leading experts on guns and crime.

All but one of the top ten states for gun manufacturers also were ranked in the top half of the libertarian CATO Institute’s “Freedom in the States” list, which surveys state fiscal and regulatory policies and issues related to personal freedom. A common refrain among gun rights supporters is that you need the Second Amendment to protect the First.

The Zippia study reflected deeper societal trends because it didn’t only look at the number of firearms jobs and manufacturers in a state, although these were the most important measures. It also analyzed whether there was a “positive” environment for gun producers as determined by measures like the number of state laws related to guns and the gun “culture” of a state – including the percentage of people who own firearms.

The differences between states become clear when comparing two of the largest, Florida, which ranked sixth-best on the list, and fifth-worst New York. Florida, for its population of 21 million, had just 21 gun laws on the books as of 2017, according to the study, although it enacted a few new regulations this year in response to the school shootings in Parkland, Florida.

New York, for its nearly 20 million residents, had 75 state gun laws.

Despite their similar populations, Florida in 2017 had 7,157 people working directly in the firearms industry, while only 4,156 people were employed by the industry in New York, according to a report by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Alabama, the top state for the firearms industry, had just ten gun laws on the books in 2017 and 3,222 people working in the firearms industry, just under a thousand less than New York, which is far more populous.

One surprising finding: California, at #14 on the industry-friendly list, ranked just ahead of #16 Texas, where many residents pride themselves on the state’s gun culture.

“While California has higher regulations on ownership and lower gun ownership rates, it is actually very friendly to manufacturers both in terms of jobs per capita, total jobs, and industry taxes,” said Zippa’s Drew Walters.

Perhaps that will change. Lott noted that “inertia” may come to play in some of the Zippa’s rankings, since gun businesses may be loath to pick up and absorb the costs of moving even after the environment worsens for them. “A state may have a number of jobs related to the gun industry, but it may be because they made investments 100 years ago, or 50 years ago,” Lott said. “Things may have to get pretty bad before it pays for them to give up all that investment.”

Liberal, government regulation-heavy California is hardly the Wild West anymore. In 1993, California had just 57 gun laws on the books, according to Zippa. By 2017, it had 106. Over the same period, Texas went from 12 gun laws to 18.

Keith Koffler is the editor of the website White House Dossier.

Ruger CEO: Gun Sales Can Thrive Under Trump

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Sturm, Ruger & Co. expects gun sales to continue to flourish during President Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House, pushing back against the notion that a pro-gun administration would dampen consumer demand.

Source: ReutersRuger bolts

During a conference call Thursday, one Wall Street analyst suggested that Trump would have a negative impact on the consumer firearms market, citing record-breaking sales during eight years of the Obama administration. In recent years, sales spiked when consumers sensed an elevated threat of new gun-control measures. Trump has been a vocal advocate for the gun industry, and his choice of Neil Gorsuch to join the Supreme Court calmed fears that existing gun rights could be curbed.

Ruger CEO Michael Fifer said other factors, such as owners buying multiple firearms, will keep the industry going strong.

“I think that’s kind of a pretty harsh one to say that the levels will revert back to 2008,” Fifer told analysts on Ruger’s fourth-quarter earnings call. “Firearms ownership is much more socially acceptable. It’s much wider than it was before. There are more states that have adopted laws enabling concealed carry.”

Fifer also said media criticism of police officers is causing crime rates to spike in some cities, thus driving Americans to purchase guns because “they want to defend themselves.” He added that firearms are more widely available, and gun makers such as Ruger are offering “exciting new products.”

“There are more reasons to have guns now than ever before. And so, I’m not going to read too much into the current situation,” Fifer said.

Ruger’s fourth-quarter sales rose 6.2% to $161.8 million. Earnings climbed 22% to $20.8 million.

For the full year, Ruger booked a 21% increase in sales.

Investors, however, are bracing for a slowdown in gun sales. While the broader market has rallied, shares of Ruger and its competitors have declined since Trump’s victory in November. Ruger is down 22% since the election, while American Outdoor Brands (AOBC), the renamed parent company of Smith & Wesson, is down 32%.

Cabela’s, the hunting and outdoor megastore, saw gun sales taper off at the end of 2016.

Gun shops anticipate a busy Black Friday despite Hillary Clinton loss

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Despite many gun owners stocking up prior to the 2016 Presidential Election, firearms retailers still expect a good holiday sales season.


Source: Reuters


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Like most other retailers, gun sellers thrive during the holidays. Last year’s Black Friday featured record activity for a single day, according to Federal background check data. This year, Christmas actually came early for U.S. gun shop owners. Spurred on by fears of a Hillary Clinton victory and the accompanying threat of restrictive gun legislation, U.S gun shop owners had staggering sales in the months prior to the election, but these same retailers may now be hard-pressed to match last year’s record holiday sales (December 2015 was the second busiest month ever, next to December 2012 in the face of an Obama-driven push for more restrictions). Analysts believe that this year’s holiday sales may appear to be floundering due to gun owners having stocked up in anticipation of a possible Clinton presidency. Overall, though, there’s no cause for alarm.

Federal background check data showed that gun retailers had a record October this year, the month preceding the November Presidential Election. As reported last issue, gun store traffic has fallen off substantially since Donald Trump won the presidency. The following day, November 8, shares of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp dropped 15% (but with a rebound this past week), while Sturm Ruger & Company’s stock is 17% lower.

Now, with this year’s Black Friday upon us, gun dealers say traffic is regaining momentum after the post-election drop.

“I’m not expecting it to be any slower than our normal Black Friday,” said Kellie Weeks, owner of Georgia Gun Store in Gainesville: “But if Hillary had won, we would have sold out already…”

History repeats… After Democratic candidate Barack Obama was elected in 2008, November background checks jumped 48% compared to the prior November, according to data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. By comparison, background checks rose a more modest 5% in November 2004 after Republican George W. Bush was re-elected.

The Federal background checks are the best source for factual data on gun sales, which gun manufacturers do not publicly release. This data is refined and relayed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The NSSF eliminates applications for conceal-carry permits (typically made by people who already own guns) from the data to give a better reflection of actual firearms purchases.

Through October 2016, background checks are up 15% compared to the same time last year, suggesting another a strong year of overall sales.

Wall Street expects Smith & Wesson’s revenue to increase 28% in 2016 and 11% next year, based on data from Thomson Reuters.


Let’s relax a little and go buy the guns that we really want to have, and let’s get back to enjoying that pursuit. It’s a far better feeling to buy something you’ve always wanted rather than something you might not be able to ever get again… So what’s on your Christmas shopping list?

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