Sales of guns and ammunition in the United States have dropped precipitously since Election Day, according to FBI statistics, trade groups, gun shop owners and corporate reports, what many say is the result of electing a president who has vowed to protect gun rights.

But that overall decline has been accompanied by some unusual growth: Gun clubs and shops that cater to black and LGBT clients say there has been an uptick in interest in firearms since November among those who fear that racial and gender-based violence could increase during Donald Trump's presidency.

The slowdown in gun purchases, which came at the end of a record sales year, is due in part to promises that Trump and the Republican Congress made to expand gun rights.

Firearms enthusiasts and salesmen said Trump's victory removed the sense of urgency to buy that some felt under President Barack Obama, who tried to ban the sale of assault-style weapons.


At Ron's Guns, along the Red River in the northwest corner of Louisiana, owner Gene Mock stocked up on inventory, anticipating that Democrat Hillary Clinton would win the presidency and continue the push for an assault weapons ban. Sales the week before the election were among the most brisk the shop had ever seen.

But now fewer customers are buying, and there is a glut of product.

"There will be a lot of deals to be had in the near future," Mock said.

But Philip Smith, president of the National African American Gun Association, said his group has seen a recent surge that appears to be driven by fear that the nation's divisive politics could spiral into violence.

"Trump is some of that reason, and rhetoric from other groups that have been on the fringe," Smith said. "It's like being racist is cool now."

Smith said the group has added more than 7000 members since Election Day and new chapters are popping up all over the country. They include one in Bowie, Maryland, that started last month and already has 55 members.

"People are scared and rightfully so," said Stephen Yorkman, who founded the Maryland chapter. "They feel better if they at least learn how to shoot a firearm or own one."

Nationwide, overall gun sales are trending downward after record highs during the Obama Administration. According to the FBI, background checks, which are conducted at the request of licensed firearm dealers and retailers when they make sales, dropped from 3.3 million in December 2015 to 2.8 million in December 2016. In January 2017, there were 2 million background checks performed, compared with 2.5 million in January 2016.

Gun manufacturer stocks also have dipped, with shares of Sturm, Ruger & Co., tumbling nearly 24 per cent since November 8, and American Outdoor Brand - the renamed Smith & Wesson - dropping 32 per cent. Vista Outdoors, which includes Savage firearms and two ammunition lines, saw its share price sink by 50 per cent since January, according to Rommel Dionisio, a managing director for the private equity firm Wunderlich.

Sales of the semiautomatic sporting rifles that Obama and Clinton wanted to ban have slowed the most since the election, said Larry Keane, senior vice-president and general counsel of the Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gun manufacturers.