NRA in a tailspin as gun sales plunge and support for gun control soars


Even a strong majority of Republican voters now want assault-style weapons banned in the U.S.

The NRA might still be able to manipulate Trump and get him to flip gun policies after huddling with him in White House meetings. But the NRA can't control American consumers. And the NRA can't control public opinion.

Both are moving swiftly against the radical gun group.

On Friday, American Outdoor Brands, which manufactures the famous Smith & Wesson gun brand, announced that its year-over-year sales were down 33 percent, and that profits had plunged 65 percent. Despite a roaring stock market in 2018, shares of American Outdoor Brands are down more than 20 percent year-to-date, according to CNN.

The bottom line is that Trump is bad for the gun business.

Gun sales are down and the NRA can no longer claim that a sitting Democratic president wants to take away everybody’s guns. (He never actually wanted to.) For eight years, the NRA pitched that boldface fabrication about Barack Obama, and for eight years NRA members bought it.

Now, without that permanent anti-Obama hysteria being marketed by the NRA and its political allies, sales are way down.

Recently, major gun manufacturers, including Sturm Ruger, Vista Outdoor and Remington, have announced downward sales and laid off hundreds of workers.

Meanwhile, in the wake of last months' school massacre in Parkland, Florida, major American retailers continue to pull back on the gun business. On Friday, L.L. Bean became the latest to announce it would not sell guns to any consumers under the age of 21.

Simultaneously, we're witnessing a stunning and historic turn in public opinion about guns and gun safety.

While the NRA frantically tries to get Trump to walk back any common-sense rhetoric he may have used this week about tightening background checks and raising the legal age to purchase guns, public opinion won't be so easily altered.

And yes, Republican voters are out front in urging change.

According to a new NPR poll, nearly 60 percent of Republicans want assault-style weapons to be banned in America. And 72 percent don't want anyone under the age of 21 buying guys.

And that's among Republicans.

Democrats and independents are even more passionate.

"This data indicates there's actually an increasing energy on the side of gun control," Chris Jackson, director of the public polling for Ipsos, which conducted the survey for NPR. And "given that guns have become very partisan, that may have really significant results in the midterms."

Heading towards the midterms, Trump and the NRA are on the wrong side of this burning issue.