SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — People in the arms industry say South Dakota is relatively unaffected by a nationwide dip in gun sales after a bump in interest before the 2016 election.

Some residents last year worried that if Hillary Clinton were elected, gun ownership rights would slip and certain models would be pulled. But those who track the gun industry in South Dakota say gun advocacy in the state remains strong, the Argus Leader reported .

Steve Naatjes, owner of Gary’s Gun Shop in Sioux Falls, said assault rifle sales picked up before the election but have since scaled back. But he said handgun sales have remained consistent, a trend he said was likely spurred by local and national news involving robberies and shootings.

“Handgun sales are always strong,” he said.

The South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office reports that the state’s total pistol permit numbers climbed to more than 96,000 last year during the presidential election, a jump of about 8,600 compared with the beginning of 2016. After a slight decline, the number of permits as of July 31 was more than 95,000.

Annual new permits and renewals are at 14,400 so far this year, compared to 11,500 in 2007, according to state records.

Nationally, the decline in gun sales is more apparent. Outdoor retail chain Cabela’s said store sales decreased nearly 10 percent nationwide in the most recent quarter compared to 2016. The retailer said firearms and shooting-related products were responsible for almost half of the decline.

South Dakota residents tend to respect guns, said Alex Lerdal, a Sioux Falls resident who was renewing his concealed carry permit.

“Around here, almost everyone has one,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be for self-defense. It doesn’t have to be for hunting.”


Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com