Can The Gun Business Recover From The Trump Slump? Elect Lizzie Warren in 2020.

On August 8, 2016, Smith & Wesson stock was selling at just under $30 bucks a share.  Yesterday, the stock closed at $9.39.  On August 8, 2016, investors paid around $13 for a share of New York Times stock.  This morning the stock opened at $23.  In the last two years, Smith & Wesson has dropped by two-thirds, the price of New York Times shares have gone up by almost 50%.

charQuestion: What accounts for such a radical difference in the performance of these two companies?

Answer: Donald Trump.

This past Saturday I walked into a nice, little gun shop in Vermont and bought 300 rounds of 22LR ammo which we use for running the gun-safety course in my shop. This wasn’t cheap stuff; this was the best 22LR ammo you can buy – CCI.  I paid 7 cents a round ($20 for a 300-round box) which is about half of what I paid for the same ammunition back when Smith & Wesson stock was selling for $30 a share.  Want to know how the gun business is doing? Just check the price of ammo.

If Hillary had done what she was supposed to do, namely, win in a landslide, I guarantee you that Smith & Wesson stock would now be selling for $50 a share and the price of New York Times stock would be somewhere around $5 or less.  Know why? Because Hillary would have gone out of her way in her inauguration speech to make a big deal out of gun control, if only because Gun-control Nation was one of the groups which went all out to try and get her moved back into the White House.

Would there have been a national walk-out after Parkland if Hillary’s campaign staff hadn’t run the worst and most inept Presidential campaign of all time? And anyone who doubts what I just said, btw, should ask themselves how she could have lost Michigan – Michigan! – by less than 11,000 votes. Would Lockton have stopped selling liability insurance to the boys in Fairfax if they hadn’t responded to mass shootings by trying to become the leading voice of the alt-right?

The problem facing Gun-nut Nation isn’t the existence of Trump in the Oval Office per se, it’s the fact that Trump has chosen again and again to communicate to his so-called ‘base’ in violent and incredibly stupid ways.  Remember what he said about Charlottesville, that there was ‘violence’ on both sides? There was only one little problem – the counter-protestors who showed up and marched against the Nazis and the Klan weren’t carrying AR-15s. And the fact that Trump didn’t understand how the ‘average’ American would react to seeing a gun-toting jerk with an assault rifle slung over his back shows how little understanding he really has about all those ‘average’ Americans whose interests he claims to represent.

For that matter, the NRA leadership appears not to have understood this as well. Over the last two years, they have produced some of the dumbest video messaging of all time, in particular the rants of Dana Loesch, who has tried to convince her audience that it’s the leftist elite which is responsible for violence against Trump, not the other way around. By the way, monthly visits to the NRA website since February, 2018 have dropped from 3.2 million to 860,000. So much for how Gun-nut Nation does such an effective social media job, right?

In July, 2016 the FBI conducted 1,143,824 background checks on gun transfers. Last month the same number was 739,968.  That’s not a drop in month-to-month sales, it’s a collapse. Frankly, I’m surprised that a share of Smith & Wesson stock is still worth $9 bucks. On the other hand, if the Congress turns blue in November, and Trump announces he’s out in 2020, and Lizzy Warren’s campaign starts to take on some steam, maybe buying some Smith & Wesson shares (NASDAQ: AOBC) isn’t such a bad idea….

 

 

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The NRA dodges a big bullet in Charlottesville.

Now that the President of the United States has finally discovered something known as racism, we can all sit back confident that the violence in Charlottesville will be addressed. But the folks breathing a deep sigh of relief aren’t the few remaining Establishment Republicans who giving Trump ‘one more chance.’ It’s our friends in Fairfax, a.k.a., the NRA. Anyone who believes there’s no connection between the resurgence of far-right activity and recent NRA messaging shares a brain with my mother-in-law, and she’s been in the cemetery for more than ten years. How has the NRA aligned itself with the alt-right, alt-white crowd? On the issue of terrorism, in particular terrorist violence within our own midst.

charAccording to what we know about this jerk James Fields so far, this 20-year old graduated high school, was briefly in the Army but washed out of basic training and sent home. If he had a job, it didn’t interfere with the time he needed to drive from Ohio to Charlottesville at some point before the attack occurred.

But what if instead of using his car to attack the crowd, our young white supremacist had pulled out a gun, let’s say a Glock like the type Jared Loughner used to shoot Gabby Giffords and nineteen others in Tucson or the AR-15 that Adam Lanza used to mow down 26 adults and school kids at Sandy Hook?  Trump or no Trump, I suspect the public reaction would have been intense because the death toll probably would have been much higher than just 32-year Heather Heyer who associates and friends described as being committed to equality and ‘very strong.’ I can just see Trump getting back up there and blustering about supporting 2nd Amendment ‘rights.’ Yea, right.

The NRA has been promoting the idea of armed citizens for a long time, but what was initially a strategy based on the idea of using a gun for protection against crime has now morphed into a more generic argument about the value of carrying a firearm in response to the threat of a terrorist attack. At the 2015 annual meeting, Wayne-o Lapierre told the faithful that ‘terror cells’ were operating in all major American cities and a major terrorist attack was soon going to take place. He’s recently honed the message a bit in order to take pot-shots at the continued resistance to his buddy Donald Trump; now Wayne-o claims the biggest threat is from something called the ‘leftist movement’ which is ‘angry, militant and willing to engage in criminal violence to get what they want.’

But it wasn’t a member of this militant antifa who committed the horrendous act of violence in Charlottesville, it was someone who identified with the alt-right, alt-white groups who are one hundred percent behind Trump’s efforts to make America great. In fact, a number of the neo-Nazis were wearing red MAGA hats during the Charlottesville march, no doubt they bought them for $2.26 (marked down from $3.33) on eBay, free shipping when you buy.

In his recent remarks about left-wing violence and terrorism that I quoted above, Wayne-o mentioned that ‘multiple police officers’ were hospitalized during the Inauguration because of injuries suffered at the hands of the left-wing mob. It turns out that all four officers were treated and released; two were hit by ‘something’ thrown from the crowd, a third was because he fell off his bicycle and the fourth because another cop sprated him with mace. Want to compare those injuries to what James Fields did with his car?

The last thing I would like to see is one of those white supremacists taking the NRA at its word and going out gunning after members of a ‘terrorist cell.’ But if Wayne-o keeps equating carrying a gun with patriotism and Trump-o keeps saying that patriots can make America great again, you have all the ingredients for someone to walk up to a crowd of demonstrators, pull out a cannon and bang away.