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Is Public Pressure is Suppressing Firearm Sales?

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It seems that you can’t turn on the news these days without hearing about another mass shooting — whether it’s 2-3 people in a mall or fast-food restaurant or a large-scale incident such as the shootings in Las Vegas, Orlando or Stoneman Douglas High School.

These deadly incidents are most often caused by someone who has a long history of instability, but that’s not necessarily where the media focus their attention. Instead, the weapons themselves are vilified, causing retailer after retailer to receive pressure about removing semi-automatic weapons from their inventory. While five major retailers have made a decision to stop offering assault-style rifles, is there a true impact on the overall gun industry?

The changes at the retailer level are relatively standardized, with organizations such as Dick’s Sporting Goods stating that they will no longer sell guns to anyone under the age of 21 and that they will not sell AR-15 style riles to anyone. Walmart banned selling assault-style rifles as far back as 2015, and also raised their selling age to 21 years for any type of firearm. L.L. Bean followed suit, stating that they are taking it a step further and selling neither guns nor ammunition to anyone under the age of majority in the U.S., while Kroger — a retailer that many didn’t realize even sold weapons — stopped sales of guns and ammunition in their Washington, Oregon and Idaho Fred Meyers stores.

REI, another outdoors brand, is putting pressure on several brands to reduce the access to guns and ammunition to those under the age of 21. One gun manufacturer who is feeling the heat is Vista Outdoor Inc., who received feedback from retailers who carry their Bell bicycle helmets and CamelBak water carriers that their firearm and ammunition manufacturing is no longer a welcome part of their business model. The insistence became so great that Vista has decided to look for a buyer for their firearms manufacturing business in order to focus on other business lines. However, they will maintain their lucrative ammunition business.

Retailers are not the only ones that are putting manufacturers under the gun, so to speak. Financial institutions such as Citigroup have added restrictions to some of their business clients, requiring that businesses restrict sales of firearms to those over 21 who have successfully passed a background check. Blackrock investments is another organization that manages over $6 trillion in assets — and as a major shareholder in American Outdoor Brands, Sturm Ruger and Vista Outdoors they are looking to ensure that brands they work with are staying within set parameters when it comes to gun sales.

While it’s still difficult to see the long-term impact of the regulations on gun sales, it’s certain to put a damper on profits for these organizations as they look for ways to improve cash flow while looking over their shoulder at others attempting to put pressure on their business models.

~ Ready to Fire News


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