The publicly traded gun makers likes Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Ruger (RGR) have been big winners even as the stock market’s been tanking.
The thinking is that with everything going to all hell and fears of future gun restrictions, everyone is rushing out to get armed.
But maybe the whole story is just being ginned up by the gun makers for marketing purposes (we know, very hard to believe).
Michelle Leder at Footnoted points out that Remington Arms — which has publicly traded debt — makes some noises in its 10-K about buyers fearing future gun laws, and that the market is doing well because of that. It’s basically the exact same comment that Smith & Wesson’s previously made.
But the data doesn’t really bear that out:
So we decided to take a look at the numbers for background checks for gun purchases. Now, keep in mind that these numbers don’t represent all gun sales, including personal sales or sales made at gun shows. While it’s true that the numbers show a sharp increase over the past few months — there was a 28.7% increase in January 2009, for example — the general trend going back to 2005 shows a steady stream of increases in background checks. On an annualized basis, background checks have been growing steadily since the second year of the Bush Administration.
So gun registration has been up steadily for 7 or 8 years. But hey, the idea that there’s a newfound fear of government and calamity makes for a better story.
(Disclosure: The author owns some shares of Smith & Wesson)