Newsletter: The Election Hasn’t Driven Gun Sales

We have some strange news this week.

Despite a heated election that features the very real possibility America could see new gun restrictions or even political violence, gun sales haven’t increased. Not only are they below the levels seen in 2020, but they’re lower than every year since then. That’s exceedingly odd given how elections have spurred sales in the past, and I do my best to make sense of it in a members’ piece.

Bank of America gave us some surprising news, too. It walked back its policy of shunning businesses that make certain firearms and ammunition magazines years after it was first announced.

Plus, federal litigator Gabriel Malor joins the podcast to explain the practical effects of Donald Trump losing his gun rights. And Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman tries to suss out the meaning of a guntuber’s close loss to a Republican incumbent who voted for a gun-control bill. Was it a win for gun-rights activists or a sign of their waning influence?

I also want to apologize for the newsletter being a bit shorter than usual. My father passed away this week, and that took me away from the site for an extended period. He’s in a better place now. I appreciate all of you who prayed for him and my family this week.

Different colored handguns on display in a gun store during April 2023
Different colored handguns on display in a gun store during April 2023 / Stephen Gutowski

As Election Nears, Gun Sales Fall
By Jake Fogleman

Americans bought fewer guns last month than any other May in the last five years, continuing a downward trend that began in January.

A new industry analysis of May 2024 FBI background check numbers found that 1,089,117 were related to gun sales. That’s down 7.2 percent from the previous May, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). It’s also the month’s lowest adjusted background check total since May 2019.

May 2024 Gun Sales / NSSF

Click here to read more.

An attendee at the 2024 NRA Annual Meeting handles a pistol
An attendee at the 2024 NRA Annual Meeting handles a pistol / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: It’s Probably a Good Sign Americans Aren’t Rushing to Buy Guns Ahead of the Election [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

Every month of 2024 has seen a decline in gun sales compared to previous years, which suggests Americans aren’t as concerned about the outcome of the presidential election as polling might indicate.

That’s especially true given that 2024’s sales levels have been down not just compared to previous election years, like record-breaking 2020 or even 2022, but also compared to last year. An industry report found sales fell 7.2 percent year over year in May. That came after they dropped 11.2 percent the month before that and 7.4 percent the month before that.

The downturn is bad for the firearms industry. But, given the way gun sales have served as something of a national chaos meter, it may be a good sign for the country as it heads into another tumultuous November.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read the rest. If not, join today for exclusive access to this and hundreds of other pieces!

An AR-15 on display at the 2024 NRA Annual Meeting
An AR-15 on display at the 2024 NRA Annual Meeting / Stephen Gutowski

Bank of America Walks Back Gun Lending Ban
By Jake Fogleman

One of the country’s largest financial institutions is reversing course on AR-15s and other popular firearms.

Bank of America backed off its blanket ban on lending to companies that manufacture what it has labeled “military-style firearms,” Bloomberg first reported Friday. Going forward, the bank will resume lending to firearms companies on a case-by-case basis subject to “enhanced due diligence,” according to its latest Environmental and Social Risk Policy (ESRP) Framework.

Bill Haldin, a spokesperson for Bank of America, confirmed the change in policy in a statement to The Reload.

“Certain client relationships or transactions that carry heightened risks go through a due diligence process that involves senior level risk review,” he said. “We recently detailed that in our updated risk policy framework.”

Click here to continue reading.

Podcast: The Practical Realities of Trump Becoming a Prohibited Person
By Stephen Gutowski

This week, we saw the first felony conviction of a former president.

Obviously, the verdict will have all sorts of complications and consequences for Donald Trump. One of them is the fact he’ll now be a prohibited person. He won’t be allowed to buy or even possess guns.

To discuss the details of what that will look like, we have federal litigator and legal commentator Gabriel Malor on the show. He walks through how Trump’s New York convictions trigger the federal felon-in-possession ban and the same ban in his home state of Florida. He also talks about how Trump can legally transfer his guns to friends or family but also can’t be in a position where he even just has access to them.

You can listen to the show on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here. Video of the episode is available on our YouTube channel.

Plus, on the news update, contributing writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss the political fallout of Trump’s convictions for the gun debate. We also talk about the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in favor of the NRA’s free speech claims against New York officials. Plus, we cover the narrow loss of a prominent guntuber who tried to unseat an incumbent Republican over a gun control vote in a Texas congressional primary. Audio is here. Video is here.

A pair of AK-47s on sale at a Virginia gun store
A pair of AK-47s on sale at a Virginia gun store / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: What the TX-23 Runoff Says About the Gun Vote [Member Exclusive]
By Jake Fogleman

Even in defeat, gun-rights voters proved they can still make Republican candidates they target sweat.

Incumbent Congressman Tony Gonzales (R.) narrowly staved off a significant political upset Tuesday night in the primary runoff for Texas’ 23rd District. With all precincts reporting, the final vote count showed Gonzales besting his challenger, popular YouTuber and political novice Brandon Herrera, by just 407 votes.

That razor-thin margin of victory was surprising. The Gonzales campaign outspent Herrera’s by a margin of more than three to one, according to OpenSecrets, while outside spending by SuperPACs favored Gonzales 22-to-1.

What’s more, the unexpected nail-biter was primarily brought about by Second Amendment activists. Unlike other recent GOP showdowns, gun politics was the dominant theme of the race.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read more. If not, buy a membership today for exclusive access to this piece and hundreds of others!

RIP Ed Gutowski

My Dad passed on Thursday. He was surrounded by family. He fought cancer for three years. He doesn’t have to suffer anymore. He’s with God now.

No man is perfect. He was close. He struggled with his temper, weight, and health. But he worked to improve himself all the while, and he actually did. He took after his father. He was generous. He was strong. He was a good man who raised and supported a family.

The world is a worse place now that he’s gone, but it’s a better place than it was before he got here.

I can only hope to be half the man he was.

Outside The Reload

NYPD preparing to revoke Donald Trump’s license to carry a gun after felony conviction in New York | CNN | By John Miller

Sixth Circuit Upholds Gun Range Denial Despite Bruen Ruling | Bloomberg Law | By Eric Heisig

NRA slashed spending on federal lobbying amid legal troubles | OpenSecrets | By Joanne Haner and Jimmy Cloutier

Florida sheriff’s office fires deputy who fatally shot airman at home | AP News | By Terry Spencer

That’s it for this week in guns.

If you want to hear expert analysis of these stories and more, make sure you grab a Reload membership to get our exclusive analysis newsletter every Sunday!

I’ll see you all next week.

Stephen Gutowski
The Reload

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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