American Outdoor Brands suggests promotions propping up NICS, estimated gun sales
By Christen Smith
Top executives for American Outdoor Brands — Smith & Wesson’s parent company — suggested the gun industry’s promotion-heavy environment could explain the spring’s unanticipated uptick in background checks and, by proxy, gun sales.
James Debney, president of American Outdoor Brands, told investors last month the company broke records, raking in $903.2 million through the end of the fourth quarter — a 25 percent earnings increase overall.
Estimated gun sales in April, when the fourth quarter ended, defied seasonal trends, rising 4 percent over 2016, the industry’s biggest year ever. May sales followed suit, rising 6 percent.
“It’s a pretty promotionally intense environment right now,” Debney said during a June 29 conference call with investors. “What is really difficult to understand is how much is that helping NICS – adjusted NICS, okay, versus the prior year. We just don’t know. It’s tough to understand a lot of noise out there.”
June gun sales plunged 12 percent over 2016 to just over 947,000 estimated transfers, according to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The gun industry uses the system as a proxy measure for gun sales.
Debney attributed the company’s fourth quarter success, in part, to rebates Smith & Wesson provided directly to customers for