Industry leaders pushed back Monday on reports that gun sales entered a severe slump after the election of President Donald Trump.
“Reports of the industry’s demise are greatly exaggerated,” Michael Bazinet, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told the Washington Free Beacon.
While the pace of firearms-related background checks conducted by the FBI—a strong but not exact barometer of gun sales—has fallen since the election, it remains historically high. Checks in February were down nearly 400,000 from the record set in February 2016, but still represented the third-most checks conducted in the month of February, surpassing most of the years President Obama was in office. The same is true of November 2016, December 2016, and January 2017.
Despite these facts, media outlets from across the ideological spectrum have characterized the decline in background checks as a major downturn for the industry. “How Donald Trump Shot The Gun Industry In The Gut,” reads a headline at the Federalist. “Gun sales are stuck in a Trump slump,” says another at CNN. “President Obama was a boon for the firearm industry—while President Trump set off a slump in gun sales,” Fox News wrote. A popular YouTube channel that covers gun news, The Gun Collective, described the downturn as “one of the biggest slumps in the gun industry that we’ve seen in years,” likening it to the horror movie The Purge.