Long Guns & Ammo

It’s not just a cocktail party joke: Americans really are buying guns & ammo, getting ready for the economic collapse, when the name of the game is protecting your canned food hoard.

WaPo: Americans have cut back on buying cars, furniture and clothes in a tough economy, but there’s one consumer item that’s still enjoying healthy sales: guns. Purchases of firearms and ammunition have risen 8 to 10 per cent this year, according to state and federal data.

In addition to economic concerns, some speculate that the uptick in sales is about preempting new ant-gun laws under an Obama administration:

“Even though [Obama] has a lot going for him, he’s not very pro-gun,” said Paul Pluff, a spokesman for Massachusetts-based Smith & Wesson, which has reported higher sales. Gun enthusiasts are “going to go out and get [firearms] while they still can.”

Gun purchases have also been climbing because of the worsening economy, which fuels fears of crime and civil disorder, industry sources and specialists said.

All that being said, it doesn’t look like the big, publicly traded gun firms have seen much of a lift. Firearms maker Sturm, Ruger is near its lows for the year. And check out the chart on Smith & Wesson Holdings, which has gotten crushed this year. It seems they’ve been hit hard by a drop in spending on firearms for leisure (hunting):

As we have discussed over the past several months, economic conditions and their impact on consumer discretionary spending have negatively impacted the hunting-related long gun portion of our business. As is the case in any manufacturing organisation, reduced volumes create added pressure on our infrastructure, which has been built to service higher levels of operation. Until the market for these products strengthens, we remain focused on making sure that our factories operate efficiently. We have made the difficult decision to eliminate 80 production jobs in our New Hampshire manufacturing operations, a facility dedicated to the production of hunting rifles. At the same time, we have also acted to ensure that the sales and marketing functions throughout our company become increasingly streamlined, maximizing our responsiveness to the market conditions in which we operate. We are executing these changes in a manner that assures that we can continue to be responsive to the needs of our customers.

It seems that there must be some kind of split between the guns people are loading up on today (for self defence and shooting would be canned-pea thieves) and the guns Smith & Wesson had been selling to outdoorsman. As they say, the Second Ammendment isn’t about hunting deer.

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