Taking a long term look
NSSF reports that in 2009, with the rest of our industrial picture going from bad to worse, the firearms industry added 16,000 jobs (a 10% gain) while wages went from six billion to eight billion dollars.
The early 2009 surge was widely attributed to Obama taking office, and potential gun purchases trying to buy before gun restrictions came in. But that Administration has been in place over a year without lifting a finger. The Brady Campaign has given it an "F" grade. Eric Holder's Justice Department didn't even file an amicus in the Chicago case. I suspect anyone buying out of fear of the new Administration would have done so in the first months of 2009 and certainly not held off until early 2010.
Add in DC v. Heller, and the likely outcome of McDonald v. Chicago. The press becoming almost even handed on the gun issue. I think we're looking at an enormous cultural shift here. It's a reversal of the shift that occurred in the 1960s. In 1960, firearm ownership was quite acceptable. President Kennedy was happy to accept life membership in the NRA. Somewhere in the early 60s, the American Bar Assn gave an award for a pro-individual rights article on the Second Amendment. And you've probably heard we ancients speak of the days when universities had rifle teams and students thought nothing of bringing guns to school. Then came the 60s -- three assassinations in 1963-68, the summer riots, and by the later 60s guns were the source of all social ills, and anyone who would defend their ownership was a neanderthal, a fool, or a selfish social menace.
Fifty years later, we may be switching back.
Concerns about Obama might explain why NRA membership is back over four million again, but it's hard to use that to explain Violence Policy Center's having to lay off staff due to funding declines, or why Brady Campaign's income is in such steep decline. And note that both these trends were evident from 2004.