The Collapse of the AR-15 Assault Weapon Market

One of the greatest talents of the NRA and the gun industry has been their ability exploit high-profile events -- the Brady Bill; Y2K; the election Barack Obama -- to pump up gun sales.
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One of the greatest talents of the National Rifle Association and the gun industry has been their ability exploit high-profile events to pump up gun sales: Bill Clinton, the Brady Bill, the federal assault weapons "ban," Y2K, September 11th, and now, of course, Barack Obama. Regardless of the event, the solution remains the same: buy a gun. And if industry and gun fan mags are any indication, it should be an AR-15 assault rifle.

A fact left unstated by the gun lobby (and virtually unnoticed by the news media) is the fact that after gun sales rise, they eventually drop--sometimes precipitously. Sometimes, as Michael Kassnar, president of AR-15 manufacturer KBI/Charles Daly, explains, there's a "market collapse." Kassnar should know--he's just shut his business' doors.

According to the March 1, 2010, edition of theNew Gun Week:

One factor that contributed to the company's closure was what Kassner called a "collapse" of the market in mid-2009 for semiautomatic sport utility rifles, the so-called "black guns" designed on the AR-15 platform.

In other words, AR-15 assault rifles, but let us continue.

He said the rush to purchase those firearms came to a halt in about July, leaving him with a "warehouse full of guns nobody wanted."

Orders for about $8 million worth of firearms were canceled, he said, leaving KBI/Charles Daly essentially high and dry for the second half of the 2009 sales year. It appeared that the public became less fearful that the Obama administration was going to come after semi-autos, so the panic buying came to an end, Kassnar said....

"The consumer just stopped buying," he said....the "sales blitz lasted about eight months."

Not to worry. Despite the long-term trends of declining gun ownership in America's boom and bust gun manufacturing economy, the NRA and gun industry are always on the lookout for another manufactured crisis to exploit and reel in the "panic" buyer.

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