While global stocks suffered the worst trading day of 2012, gun makers Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger & Co. Inc had very, very little to complain about:
Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (SWHC) climbed the most in two months to lead a rally among firearms manufacturers as traders speculated that President Barack Obama’s reelection will spur gun sales.
“While we maintain our view that these political sales do not represent the entirety of recent firearms sales growth, we expect that with President Obama’s re-election these sales could continue well into his second term,” Mike Greene, an analyst at New York-based Benchmark, wrote in a note to clients today.
But why would a second Obama presidency further drive gun sales? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that he mentioned during the second presidential debate that he would consider reinstating a ban on military assault weapons.
“People are talking about that comment,” said Steve Fincher, a sales manager at Guns & Gear in Lavonia, Ga. “At the same time, when you’re talking about stocking up, the ‘preppers’ cover every scenario. They’re prepping for the economy to collapse, the power grid to go down, for a meteor to hit. I’ve even got someone prepping for the polarity change, when the north and south poles switch.”
“Those people make up about 4 to 5 percent of customers,” said Fincher. “But most people are struggling with a bad economy. They’re buying lower end stuff. They don’t have a lot of cash for expensive items.”
Now whether or not President Obama actually takes steps to limit access to certain firearms is uncertain. What we can say with a little more certainty, however, is that he may face efforts from House Republicans that will bring the issue of gun control to the forefront of a fierce political debate.
“Specifically, the NRA will be back on Capitol Hill advocating a federal concealed-carry ‘reciprocity’ law,” Businessweek notes. “The bill would allow citizens from gun-friendly states to tote their firearms into more restrictive states and municipalities.”
Needless to say, the president would almost certainly oppose the measure while at the same time raising tricky questions regarding federal authority and “states’ rights.”
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Front page photo source courtesy the AP.