Smith & Wesson revenue from long-gun sales fell 50 percent this year: report
© Getty Images

Smith & Wesson’s revenue from long-gun sales fell 50 percent this year, fed by a drop in AR-15 purchases, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The gunmaker's parent company, American Outdoor Brands Corp., said revenue had dropped by half from the last fiscal year, down to $90 million.

Gun sales overall are down in the last fiscal year, according to the Journal.


Because of a lack of industry data, experts look to background checks to provide an approximation of gun sales.

The Journal found that checks fell 11 percent in 2017 from record highs in 2016. Gun-sale related background checks have dropped further still in the first six months of 2018, according to the Journal.

Gun makers are pointing in particular to a fall in sales of the AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle. The Journal reported the overall drop in gun sales is the "Trump slump."

Under former President Obama, fears about Democratic legislation that could restrict gun sales spurred sales. That reached a peak in 2016, which marked a high for background checks, with Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe exhaustion of Democrats' anti-Trump delusions Poll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado Soft levels of support mark this year's Democratic primary MORE as the Democratic nominee for president.

But since the election of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE, who took office with a GOP-controlled Congress, sales have dropped.

“Obama was the best AR-15 salesman there was,” Chris Waltz, a 54-year-old gun dealer and Army veteran in Georgia, told the Journal.

Sales of AR-15-style rifles exploded under the Obama administration, reaching a high in 2016.

“The structure of the market was massively expanded by various panics," Mark Westrom, the former owner and CEO of Armalite, which manufacturers the AR-15, told the Journal. Westrom ran Armalite from 1994 to 2013. 

“This is an odd market that is stimulated by Democratic administrations,” Westrom added.

Gun makers are now seeing sales fall.

The oldest gun maker in America, Remington Outdoor Co., had to file for bankruptcy in March this year. Remington sells AR-15-style rifles under its Bushmaster and DPMS Panther Arms brands.

Earlier this year, many Democrats pushed for tougher restrictions on sales of AR-15s and other semiautomatic weapons after an AR-15 was used in a mass shooting at a Florida high school.