Voters defied the established system Tuesday by electing pro-gun candidate businessman Donald Trump over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was expected to expand upon President Obama’s gun control platform.
Before heading into the polls, analysts predicted a Clinton victory by giving her a 71.4 percent chance of winning more than 300 electoral votes and a split popular vote. But to their own chagrin, Trump raked in 276 electoral votes, six more than needed to secure the win.
Trump unexpectedly took five swing states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio, all of which are considered gun friendly — Clinton had been given the edge to win. Wisconsin voters, who also favored Clinton in surveys leading up to Election Day, jumped on the Trump train.
While voters defied expectations, the system reacted in kind. Global markets dropped sharply at the news of the U.S. electing an unpredictable candidate and analysts predict markets on Wall Street will drop significantly throughout the day. However, those same markets bounced back and started flat Wednesday.
Yet, gun stocks, which have been especially sensitive to political forces, remain steady. Under Obama’s administration, firearm sales have boomed with companies like Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Company reporting major gains as well as record highs in the federal background check system.
Many predicted gun sales would continue an upward trend under a Clinton administration, which, in addition to advocating gun control legislation, would have possibly appointed an anti-gun Supreme Court Justice who could have overturned previous gun law decisions by high court.
Some analysts have predicted Trump’s administration will have a negative effect on guns stocks, warning of a drop in share prices as political influence wanes. Looking at historic trends, market conditions for gun stocks under Trump’s administration are unclear, said Rich Duprey, a financial writer for Motley Fool.
“It’s easy to forget Obama was elected to office in the middle of a recession when stock values were severely depressed,” Duprey said. “His rhetoric and policies certainly played a role in the gun sales boom we’ve seen, but the performance of these companies (Smith & Wesson and Ruger) may have been amplified simply by having been beaten so far down by the financial crisis.”
Duprey warned that investors should not expect certain results from gun stocks based solely on the outcome of the election. “It’s not so clear-cut to say (Obama) necessarily deserves the nickname of ‘the greatest gun salesman in history,’” he said, adding there have been wide swings in stock value regardless of the political party in office.