We begin with a graphic from Shooting Magazine:
And then the money quotes, from Lee Fang in the Intercept:
Sturm, Ruger & Co. Chief Executive Michael Fifer, speaking at his company’s annual meeting in May, noted that his company — the largest handgun manufacturer in the U.S. — saw a spike in demand that “was strongly correlated to the tragic terrorist activities in Paris and San Bernardino.” Sales eventually slowed down, but Fifer called that a “big opportunity for the distributors to step up and take on inventory” to be ready for election-related sales.
In February, on an investor conference call, Fifer had predicted that “we’ll see a step up of demand if a Democrat wins” the presidency. And if Democrats win control of the Senate, he added, gun sales will increase dramatically based on fears that a more liberal Supreme Court might restrict gun rights.
Stephen Nolan, executive vice president of Vista Outdoors, a gun distributor, said the election cycle might drive a “mini surge” in sales. Nolan, speaking at the RBC Capital Markets conference earlier this month, noted that “political reaction to the tragedy in San Bernardino” and the talk of “further gun control” appeared to drive recent sales.
Smith & Wesson Chief Executive P. James Debney, speaking at the UBS Global Consumer Conference in March, explained that recent terrorist attacks had pushed firearms “back into the world of politics, talking about increasing legislation in gun control,” which “no doubt” encouraged “a very strong buying period.” He speculated that the election cycle might be having an effect as well.
UPDATE: Confirmation today from the stock market, via Reuters:
Shares of U.S. firearm makers surged on Monday as renewed fears of tighter gun control after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history led to expectations of a spike in firearm sales.
Smith & Wesson Holding Corp’s shares rose as much as 11.6 percent, while those of Sturm Ruger & Co Inc jumped 10.7 percent.
BB&T Capital Markets analyst Brian Ruttenbur, citing an industry contact, said media coverage and recent statements by politicians on the events over the weekend were spurring buying of military style rifles.
Finally, from CNN:, the body counts are highest in the Bible Belt and the Old West: