Utah gun store owners discuss impact of presidential election on sales figures

Posted at 8:47 PM, Nov 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-16 22:47:08-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Some local gun store owners felt their customer's pre-election anxiety, as many expected the presidential election to go to Hillary Clinton.

"I thought Hillary was going to win the election, and she had said she was going to try to get rid of military weapons, so I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger," said gun owner David Banner, adding, "No pun intended," as he picked up his new AR-15 rifle.

Doug's Shoot'n Sports sales manager Dave Larsen said the election has made an impact.

"I did have one gentleman order a gun from me on Tuesday, and then after the election results came in he called me and said, 'Dave, let's cancel that order,'" he said. "I asked him point blank, 'Is this because Donald won?' And he said, 'Yeah, kind of.' Later on he called back again and decided to keep it though."

Larsen's family has been in the gun industry for 42 years. Larsen has been working for his late father's store for 32 years. He said he has seen how politics impacts his sales.

Larsen said, yes, there was a swell in sales right before the election, but it was not nearly as big as in 2008 when President Barack Obama was elected.

"The store was packed for months," Larsen said of 2008. "After the first week or so I was surprised we had any guns left."

He said he chose not to stock up too much before this election, but he said other gun store owners took advantage of the national polls predicting Clinton to win.

"Some dealers stocked up, and now they are probably a little heavy with the Trump win," Larsen said.

Discount Guns and Ammo sales manager Jim Korth said he also saw the angst in customers prior to the election.

"There was some awareness, there was some apprehension, and we had a number of customers come in and say, 'We want to do this while we can. We are not sure where these are going,'" Korth said.

Both say the Trump win is more important for their business prospects than a short-term spike in sales, with what likely would have come with a Clinton victory.