Stocks for two major gunmakers skyrocketed as President Obama unveiled a long-awaited series of executive orders intended to reduce gun violence.
Gunmaker Smith & Wesson’s stock price closed at $25.86, higher than at any point in 2015. A year ago, on January 7, 2015, it closed at just $9.93.
Sturm, Ruger & Co.’s price reached $65.54, the highest it has been since August 2015.
The increase in stock prices reflects the expectation that gun sales will surge again. Gun sales skyrocketed after the Sandy Hook massacre on fears the federal government would crack down on gun ownership.
The Intercept recently reported that gun manufacturers and retailers, talking to investors, said they expect sales to rise after massacres. “You can see after a tragedy, there’s also a lot of buying,” Jeff Buchanan, the chief financial officer of Smith & Wesson, told investors.
The FBI recorded a “record number of firearms background checks” in 2015, hitting a pace of roughly 44 checks a minute. The peak day for background checks was Black Friday, with 185,345 checks.
Smith & Wesson also raised its revenue and earnings guidance on Tuesday, announcing “that the sell-through rate of its products at distribution has been stronger than originally anticipated,” reducing distributor inventories even as the high number of background checks, “an indicator of consumer purchases, reflected strong growth versus December 2014.”
Republican presidential candidates are among those stoking fears of gun control.
“Pretty soon you won’t be able to get guns,” warned GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump during an appearance on CNN this week. Ted Cruz, hot on Trump’s heels in polling, engineered a list-building pitch on his website featuring a helmet-clad Obama coming for people’s guns.
In reality, Obama’s executive orders are fairly modest and lack anything remotely like the kind of sweeping gun bans that have been talked up by the political right.
“This is it, really?” exclaimed NRA lobbyist Jennifer Baker to the New York Times. “This is what they’ve been hyping for how long now? This is the proposal they’ve spent seven years putting together? They’re not really doing anything.”
Top photo: Page on tedcruz.org website.