Sturm Ruger, Smith & Wesson Climb Following Orlando Massacreby
Demand for firearms typically rises after mass shootings
Clinton calls for the return of ban on assault weapons
Gunmakers’ shares jumped following the massacre at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub that left at least 50 people dead.
Sturm Ruger & Co. climbed 8.7 percent to $62.43 at 9:34 a.m. Monday in New York after gaining 8.9 percent, its most intraday since late February. Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. surged 10 percent $23.57 following a 12 percent advance, its biggest intraday increase since Jan. 5.
Shares of gun manufacturers typically increase after a mass shooting as investors speculate that tougher gun-control laws may be enacted, spurring sales before any new measures take effect. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is used to vet consumer gun purchases and is a gauge of firearm demand, jumped more than 25 percent for the three months through January, Smith & Wesson said in March. That period included a terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, California, and coordinated attacks in Paris.
President Barack Obama said the Orlando spree on Sunday, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, is a reminder of how easy it is to obtain weapons under U.S. law. “We have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be,” he said. “And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.”
Hillary Clinton, the probable Democratic nominee for president, will push for “common-sense” gun restrictions, including bringing back a ban on semi-automatic rifles known as assault weapons, she said in a CNN interview on Monday.
The suspect in the shooting, Omar Mateen, was armed with an assault-type weapon and a handgun and had claimed allegiance to the Islamic State in a 911 call during the attack, authorities said.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump plans a “major speech” in New Hampshire on Monday to address the Orlando attack, immigration and national security, his campaign said in an e-mailed statement.
“If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore,” Trump said. “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism,” he also said on Twitter.
The surge of gun demand following mass shootings -- fueled either by speculation about stricter gun control or by a heightened desire for self-defense -- usually subsides. That has created a volatile industry that gunmakers have tried to address by making their production more flexible.
“There have been some significant ups and downs in demand as political rhetoric and threats have spurred demand above the underlying normal rate,” Sturm Ruger Chief Executive Officer Michael Fifer said at the company’s annual meeting last month. “These spikes in demand have then been followed by periods when demand retreated as the threats to gun rights failed to materialize to quite the degree that had caused the spike in the first place.”