The fear that the Obama administration would take guns and ammunition away from Americans was great for the guns and ammunition business.
Sports retailers couldn’t restock shelves of ammo fast enough.
Now that Donald Trump, a strong gun rights advocate, is in the White House, times are tough.
The Star Tribune reports that Federal Cartridge, the Anoka ammunition maker, laid off 14 more workers this week, bringing to 186 the number of people who’ve lost their jobs this year.
Why? Because people aren’t afraid.
“Inventory levels have remained high since the election and we are waiting for those inventories to clear. In the meantime, we are finding ways to manage our efficiencies,” said Amanda Covington, spokeswoman for Federal’s parent firm Vista Outdoors.
Firms such as Winchester Ammunition and American Outdoor Brands, formerly Smith & Wesson, have also seen consumer sales or stock prices fall since the November election.
The timing of the slowdown is particularly bad for Federal Cartridge. Last year it announced a $33.9 million factory expansion and efficiency project in Anoka. At the time, the company had promised to create 50 new jobs in exchange for a $1.15 million grant from the state of Minnesota.
Things might be looking up, however. The number of Americans applying for background checks to purchase firearms rose 6.5 percent last month, according to the FBI. It’s usually a barometer of future conditions in the guns and ammo market.