The belt-tightening at Daniel Defense may be related more to the "Trump Slump" – an industry-wide decline in sales since President Donald Trump took office in January. Gun sales increased several times under President Barack Obama's administration, especially after he called for firearms restrictions following mass shootings, notably the one that left 26 dead in a Connecticut elementary school. Sales also spiked before November's presidential election after Trump claimed – falsely – that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wanted to revoke the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.
In the first half of 2017, the FBI performed 9 percent fewer firearms background checks compared to the same period a year earlier. In Georgia, the number of background checks declined by 11 percent.
Background checks don’t precisely correlate to the pace of gun sales. Some states periodically request new checks on people who bought guns in years past. Generally, though, the checks are a reliable indicator of the robustness of the gun market.
Daniel Defense, founded only about 15 years ago, produces s
ome of the world's highest-priced assault rifles, generally retailing for $2,000 to $3,000. Twice in the past four years, Gov. Nathan Deal announced expansions in the company's work force.
Trade-industry publications suggest Daniel Defense may be consolidating its manufacturing in a single location, a new 300,000-square-foot facility in Bryan County.
Company executives did not respond to requests for an interview. Daniel Defense has not notified the Georgia Department of Economic Development of any layoffs.
Faith, family, firearms drive Georgia's devotion to Second Amendment.