Last year, Tommy Millner, the chief executive of Cabela’s, a retailer that sells guns, boasted at an investor conference in Nebraska that his company made a “conscious decision” to stock additional weapons merchandise before the 2012 election, hoping Obama’s reelection would result in increased sales. After the election, the Newtown mass shooting happened, and “the business went vertical … I meant it just went crazy,” Millner said, according to a transcript of the event. Describing the “tailwinds of profitability,” Millner noted Cabela’s “didn’t blink as others did to stop selling AR-15 platform guns,” and so his company “got a lot of new customers.” The AR-15 is a high-powered assault rifle based on the military’s M-16 model but without the full automatic capacity,

Steven Miller, the chief executive of Big 5 Sporting Goods, another gun retailer, was asked by investor analysts in 2013 to describe the state of the market during a conference call that year. The “real surge” in firearm sales, Miller said, “took place following the tragedy in Sandy Hook.”

Follow the money.

20 thoughts on “Last year, Tommy Millner, the chief executive of Cabela’s, a retailer that sells guns, boasted at an investor…

  1. Well, I think any and all fear = good gun sales. Don’t know that they even care where the fear comes from.

    Honestly I’m surprised they haven’t leveraged climate change to goose sales. Oh wait I forgot.

  2. Agh… People, stop saying that the M-16 is a full-auto weapon. It hasn’t been for years. The full-auto version was discontinued before I even joined the Army, and is no longer in service.

    The current M-16 (and M-4) has a burst-fire capability, which is very different from full-auto. The civilian variants are semi-auto, which means they fire one bullet on each trigger pull, without having to be recharged/cocked between each shot, like pretty much every other civilian-authorized weapon out there.

    This is the biggest, most annoying misperception about so-called “assault weapons”. An AR-15 is NOT an assault rifle. It’s a rifle that has the same appearance as an assault rifle… So no, you don’t “know one when you see one”.

  3. Isn’t the caliber and ammo capacity actually the thing that sets the AR-15 apart anyway? I mean, I can speculate as to the psychological reasons why folks might want to wave one around at a shooting spree, but there must be a technical reason why they’re a preferred choice.

  4. I can’t speak to the psychology of why a criminal shooter might choose one, but I think the primary reason we use the M-16/M-4 ammo is that it’s a NATO standard, and is thus very readily available. A lot of experienced infantrymen hate the M-16/M-4, though, because the 5.56mm round tends to tumble at the slightest provocation; errant wind, leaves, etc. which drastically reduces the effective range and accuracy. I’ve also learned through military education on the topic that the 5.56mm tends to tumble inside the body, rather than punching directly through. This supports the general U.S. doctrine of creating a casualty that will require medical care, and minimizing collateral damage.

    I do know the reason why the 1911 was popular during Vietnam had to do with the VC’s tendency to have their fighters hopped up on various drugs, so the 5.56mm and 9mm rounds would often be ignored in the heat of battle. The .45 round had the ability to put them on the ground, whereas the smaller caliber rounds did not.

  5. I’d like to see your source for that, because that sounds literally impossible.

    The maximum fire rate for an M240 machine gun is between 650-950 rpm, assuming there is a belt long enough, and you simply hold the trigger down the whole time. Even this is practically impossible, as the barrel would start to melt before you reached that. 

    The main body of an M-16 cannot take a belt feed. You would have to take it to a machinists shop and completely rebuild the feed assembly, at which point, I’m pretty sure it’s no longer an AR-15/M-16.

    I’m also pretty much sure that no one is capable of pulling a trigger 900 times within a minute, so the only way that’s going to work is if the weapon were modified to be full-auto at the same time you’re putting in the belt-feed assembly.

  6. Thanks for that. I can’t watch the videos right now (I’m at work) but I didn’t see anything claiming 900 rounds in a minute in the text. The only rate-of-fire estimate I saw was 100 rounds in 7 seconds, which is somewhat close. Even then, I think that’s likely to be an exaggerated claim, based on what is “theoretically” possible.

    The belt-fed modification shown in one of the video’s cover picture is definitely not going to be legal for the general public, and everything else I said about the rate-of-fire and overheating still holds.

    Still, that is a worrisome modification, because it does circumvent the restriction with a technical loophole. Even 30 rounds from your standard magazine (though I think 15 or 20 is all that’s legal for the general public?) within a few seconds is definitely within assault weapon range of output.