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Thu, Sept. 19

Gun sales in state start to climb back up after January’s Trump slump

A state legislator states that 40 percent of gun sales are unregulated.
Miner/file

A state legislator states that 40 percent of gun sales are unregulated.

WASHINGTON – Gun sales in Arizona have started to rebound after a brief January slump that experts attribute to the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

The latest FBI background check data show that gun sales in Arizona last year peaked at 44,887 in December, before plunging to 31,366 in January. That mirrored national sales, which hit a high of 2.8 million in December before falling to just over 2 million a month later.

But sales in March had bounced back to 38,170 in Arizona and 2.4 million nationally.

The numbers are just the latest in a rollercoaster ride of gun sales driven up by what experts said were typical reactions to the possible election of a Democrat, Hillary Clinton, and a subsequent drop when gun-friendly Republican Trump moved into the White House.

The sensitivity to partisan politics is one of the few things predictable about gun sales, one expert said – along with the general upward trend over time.

“The gun-sale market is really volatile,” said Larry Gould, law professor at Coconino Community College and expert on police policies and procedures. “If you look back over the last 17, 18 years you see that it goes up and down, up and down, but the general trend has been upward.”

Marc J. Victor, an Arizona attorney, said gun show operators and gun sellers likely would have preferred a Clinton win in 2016, even though she is less supportive of Second Amendment rights, because of the business windfall her election might have meant for them.

“Trump is not going to make it hard for people to buy guns, so no one is rushing out to buy guns,” Victor said. “Trump has been relatively clear on the Second Amendment and him wanting to protect Second Amendment rights, so the gun community is pretty happy with those decisions.”

Gun shop owners in the state reported similar peaks and valleys during the election season.

Lamark Mulligan, a worker at Shooter’s World in Phoenix, said his shop had not been selling many guns, “Not since Trump got elected.”

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