After firearm manufacturer Smith & Wesson announced a significant drop in rifle sales recently, area gun dealers said Monday they are not surprised and said it is something they have been dealing with on a local level, as well.
The well-known Massachusetts-based manufacturer’s stock fell more than 10 percent Friday after its outlook predicted a sharp decrease in gun sales, according to the Associated Press.
The company now expects first-quarter earnings of between 23 and 25 cents per share, which is significantly below the 40 cents per share that Wall Street analysts had previously expected. Shares of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. decreased by $1.76, or 10.3 percent, to $15.24 in afternoon trading Friday, the Associated Press reported.
Local gun brokers said the decrease in sales is not just with military-style semiautomatic rifles, but with all styles and brands of guns.
Ray Zullin, owner of Ray’s Sport Shop in Fleischmanns, attributed the decrease in gun sales to the poor state of the economy, in general.
“Business is dead all over,” Zullin said. “The economy’s shot. People aren’t buying guns because they’ve just got no money.”
John Marino, owner of Marino Firearms in Hancock, said it only makes sense that gun sales are now decreasing because they were up so high in 2013.
“Last year was my highest-selling year ever,” Marino said. “This year, sales have been down quite a bit. The sales had to come back down to earth. It just makes sense.”
Smith & Wesson does not manufacture many rifles to begin with, Marino said. The only ones the company does make are black, military-style semiautomatic rifles, or “assault rifles,” which, in New York, can now only be sold to law enforcement as a result of the New York SAFE Act, he said.
Marino said 40 percent of the guns in his stockroom became illegal for him to sell overnight after the SAFE Act was passed by the Legislature in January 2013.