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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.

How Millennials Are Changing the Gun Industry

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This generation has very different motivations for and behaviors in disposing of their hard-earned cash to satisfy their wants, and this author says that the firearms industry needs to be prepared, or suffer… Read the reasons why.

millennials

SOURCE: NRAFamily.org, W.H. “Chip” Gross

Baby Boomers are those Americans born during the 20-year span from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s — some 76 million people — whose buying power and economic impact have influenced the firearms industry for decades. But things are changing. As the Boomers grow into retirement age and begin passing away, a new generation of Americans — Millennials — is beginning to make its presence felt in many ways, not the least of which is economically.

Not as clearly defined as Baby Boomers, Millennials are also known as “Generation Y,” and are typically described by demographers as those people born in the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, even stretching into the early 2000s. But no matter how they’re defined, Millennials are very different in behavior from their parents and grandparents, and those differences are rocking the firearms industry.

Rex Gore, owner of Black Wing Shooting Center near Delaware, Ohio, has studied that industry for 20 years. He’s used his knowledge to build Black Wing into a diverse, state-of-the-art, five-star rated shooting facility (as determined by the National Shooting Sports Foundation). And he has some definite thoughts about marketing to Millennials.

“Millennials like experiences,” said Gore. “They will spend money, but they’re not gun collectors as the Baby Boomers were. Instead, they like to have fun and create memories with their friends. They enjoy shooting, but most aren’t hunters.”

As a result of the influence of Millennials, Gore believes there is going to be a dynamic shift in the future of the shooting-sports industry, and those changes are beginning to be seen already.

“I’m continually telling my staff of 35 people that what has successfully gotten us where we are today is no guarantee that we will be successful down the road,” he said. “It’s no secret that Millennials want ‘black and tactical’ when it comes to firearms and accessories. But unlike Baby Boomers, they don’t care much what the brand name of the firearm is they’re buying as long as it will do the job. In other words, they want utilitarian, what works.”

As for what those trends will mean for the future of brick-and-mortar gun shops, Gore says it’s anyone’s guess.

“I’m constantly studying not only the firearms industry but retail sales in general, and Amazon’s approach has changed a lot of things. For instance, Amazon is now gearing up to enter the food industry. And when Kroger and Walmart are scared –they now control much of the grocery business in America today — you know something is set to happen.”

To make his point, Gore cited a company that didn’t listen to its customers and change with the times, and ultimately failed as a result: Blockbuster.

“Customers didn’t like having to take the time to go to a Blockbuster store to rent a video, then return it to the store when they were finished watching it,” he said. “Netflix and other such companies saw an opportunity and filled that niche. And where is Blockbuster today? Gone. I don’t want Black Wing Shooting Center to make the same mistake, so we are constantly asking our customers, particularly Millennials, what they want. And we’re listening and changing.”

One of the changes Gore is implementing is a transition in his gun sales department. “Millennials don’t want to be sold-to,” he said. “Earlier generations liked having a gun counter where firearms were displayed, and they enjoyed having a salesperson behind the counter explaining the good, better, best features of the various guns.

“Millennials aren’t like that. Because of growing up with the Internet and having a smart-phone in their hand from a young age, Millennials have likely done their research about a particular item before they even enter a gun store. So all they really want is help finding the particular firearm or accessory they’ve researched. In most cases, they already know what they want to buy.”

As a result, Gore believes, rather than future sales taking place across a traditional gun counter, the firearms industry is going to transition into what’s termed more “shoulder-to-shoulder” sales. Some gun stores have already eliminated sales counters altogether, replacing them with stand-alone displays or kiosks for displaying firearms. Salespeople then roam the sales floor, assisting customers. Not surprisingly, that same concept is used in cell-phone stores.

Gore also mentioned the selling of firearms accessories and the importance of having them priced right. “Unlike with firearms that must be sold through a Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer, Millennials are well aware that they don’t have to buy their accessories at a store,” he said. “For instance, if they believe an accessory is priced too high at a store, they will likely have that particular accessory ordered over the Internet using their smart-phone before they even get out the front door; and the item then arrives at their home the next day. That kind of buying power and technology is a challenge to compete against.”

Gore is also counting on the fact that he and other gun-store owners who have a shooting range associated with their stores have an advantage over those gun shops that don’t. “No matter where Millennials buy their firearms and accessories, they will still need a place to shoot,” he said. “Looking to the future, if I owned a brick-and-mortar gun shop that only sold firearms and didn’t have a range, I’d be looking for an exit strategy.”

Gore concluded his comments by sharing the philosophy that has made Black Wing so successful in the past. “We believe we’re in the recreation and entertainment business,” he said, “and we only sell product — firearms and accessories — as a result. That’s been Black Wing’s focus from the beginning. So knowing that Millennials like fun, exciting, memorable experiences, we believe we’re prepared to provide a place for those activities, and that we are well positioned to meet the shooting needs of this next generation of Americans well into the future.”

Only time will tell if Gore has guessed right. But he has an ace in the hole. His son, Mark, currently works as a manager at Black Wing and is expected to take over the helm of the business in a few years. And, yes, he’s a Millennial.

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


msss_holiday_sales

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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