Obama May Inadvertently Boost Gun Sales

When President Barack Obama spoke to shell-shocked residents of Newtown, Conn., his words were meant to comfort.

"We can't tolerate this anymore," he said two days after a gunman murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. "These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change."

[PHOTOS: Deadly Connecticut School Shooting]

But the first change that could come from stepped-up efforts to prevent mass shooting is one the president doesn't intend: A surge in gun sales, and in profits for firearms manufacturers.

One irony of the gun-control movement is that gun sales usually rise whenever there's talk of new efforts to limit them. In fact, the firearms industry has enjoyed some of its best years ever since 2008, as if the grueling recession and weak recovery didn't even happen. The industry's economic impact rose from $6.8 billion in 2008 to $13.6 billion in 2011, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group. That's a 100 percent increase over a time when overall economic output grew by only 11 percent. The gun business employs nearly 100,000 people, up from 76,000 in 2008. "Our industry is proud to be one of the bright spots in this economy," the NSSF proclaims in promotional literature.

Gun sales haven't soared because of a burst of interest in hunting and shooting, however. They've gone up mainly because Obama took office in 2008 as a much stronger advocate of gun-control measures than his predecessor, George W. Bush. Lobbying groups such as the National Rifle Association warned Obama might curtail the rights of gun owners, tacitly suggesting that gun enthusiasts ought to stock up while they had the chance. As sales exploded following Obama's inauguration, some industry officials joked that Obama was "the best gun salesman of all time."

[READ: What Could Go Wrong in 2013]

The irony gets deeper, because sales boomed even though Obama has done virtually nothing to enhance gun-control laws during his first term. The stock price for Smith & Wesson is up 277 percent since the beginning of 2009. Sturm, Ruger & Co. is up more than 600 percent. The Freedom Group, which owns brands such as Bushmaster and Remington, is privately owned, but sales are up 23 percent in the most recent year from 2008 levels.

Investors who own shares in gun companies have been selling in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings, perhaps out of concern that the horrifying murders will finally generate enough outrage to reverse the loosening of gun laws that has occurred duringthe last decade. Smith & Wesson shares are down about 10 percent from their levels right before the shooting. Ruger shares are down about 5 percent.

[READ: The Right Way to Solve the Fiscal Cliff]

But that could be more of a buying opportunity for gutsy traders than a sign of trouble for gun makers. Obama said virtually nothing about gun control during his 2012 re-election campaign, and even now he's being cagey about whether he wants to see new restrictions on sales--which would stir up a huge fight with the NRA and the gun lobby--or attempt other types of reforms that might generate less political combat, such as better efforts to identify pathological people and keep guns out of their hands.

Meanwhile, some Democrats in Congress are promising to introduce a new ban on assault weapons and other gun-control measures in 2013. But other recent massacres, such as those in Aurora, Colorado and Tucson, Arizona generated no change whatsoever in gun laws--despite similar determination at the time to find new ways to prevent mass violence. Gun manufacturers, for better or worse, look like a strong buy.

Rick Newman is the author of Rebounders: How Winners Pivot From Setback To Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.



More From US News & World Report

--

Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.
Loading...
  • Engineer Smiths Group posts fall in underlying FY revenue Reuters - 1 hour 54 minutes ago

    (Reuters) - British engineering conglomerate Smiths Group Plc said underlying full-year revenue fell nearly 2 percent on a decline in sales at one of its biggest units. Revenue for the year ended July ... … More »

  • ECB needs help from other policy areas as 'lower bound' looms
    ECB needs help from other policy areas as 'lower bound' looms Reuters - 6 minutes ago

    FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank's monetary stimulus needs to be complemented by action in other policy areas as the ECB is already operating near a "lower bound" where interest ... … More »

  • Malaysia's SapuraKencana posts quarterly profit on forex gain Reuters - 7 minutes ago

    Net profit rose nearly 8 percent to 112.3 million ringgit ($27.16 million) in its second quarter ended July 31 from 104.1 million ringgit a year earlier, the company said in a filing with the stock exchange. Revenue, however, fell to 1.68 billion … More »

  • Brewer AB InBev shareholders approve takeover of rival SABMiller
    Brewer AB InBev shareholders approve takeover of rival SABMiller AFP News - 15 minutes ago

    Shareholders of brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev approved the blockbuster takeover of rival SABMiller, the brewer said on Wednesday, clearing a major hurdle towards one of the biggest mergers ever attempted. … More »

  • Asian markets down, energy firms hit by oil deal woes
    Asian markets down, energy firms hit by oil deal woes AFP News - 18 minutes ago

    Tokyo stocks led a broad retreat in Asian markets Wednesday as the yen recovered, while regional energy firms struggled with crude prices on concern about the chances of success at an upcoming producers' meeting. Standard Chartered Bank fell two … More »

  • AB InBev to retain its name after SABMiller takeover Reuters - 37 minutes ago

    BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev said on Wednesday that it would retain its existing name after a planned $100-billion-plus (76.89 billion pounds) takeover of rival SABMiller. SABMiller shareholders ... … More »

  • UK's Phoenix to buy Deutsche Bank's Abbey Life for $1.22 billion Reuters - 1 hour 4 minutes ago

    (Reuters) - Phoenix Group Holdings, Britain's largest owner of life assurance funds closed to new customers, said it would buy Deutsche Bank AG's British insurance business Abbey Life Assurance Co for ... … More »

  • Two new tsars to be created as Airbus reorganisation takes shape
    Two new tsars to be created as Airbus reorganisation takes shape Reuters - 1 hour 8 minutes ago

    Airbus Group Chief Executive Tom Enders plans to expand a shake-up of Europe’s largest aerospace group by promoting two executives to oversee engineering and programmes as he forces through more "integration" to prepare for future competition. … More »

  • JTC launches Tuas site for sale
    JTC launches Tuas site for sale The Edge Property - 1 hour 11 minutes ago

    JTC has launced a confirmed-list site at Tuas South Link 2 (Plot 11) for sale by public tender. It is the third of the seven confirmed-list sites for the 2H2016 Industrial Government Land Sales Programme.The 53,997 sq ft site is zoned for business 2 … More »

  • Oil stages tepid rebound as hopes ease for output deal AFP - 1 hour 12 minutes ago

    Oil prices posted marginal gains in Asia Wednesday as an industry report showing a decline in US stockpiles was offset by worries about the chances of this week's key producers meeting ending with a deal ... … More »

  • Gold hits one-week low as dollar firms
    Gold hits one-week low as dollar firms Reuters - 1 hour 12 minutes ago

    Gold prices slipped on Wednesday to touch a one-week low, after suffering its biggest single-day loss in nearly a month in the previous session, on a firmer dollar. The safe haven asset slid nearly 1 percent on Tuesday, its biggest single session … More »

  • Motoring group AA posts first half revenue rise, sees no Brexit impact Reuters - 1 hour 15 minutes ago

    The results strip out any contribution from AA Ireland, which AA agreed to sell to a Carlyle Group fund and financial services buyout team in June for 156.6 million euros. The firm said it had not seen any impact of Brexit-related issues on its … More »

  • World Bank releases $300 mn for Syrian refugees in Jordan
    World Bank releases $300 mn for Syrian refugees in Jordan AFP News - 1 hour 15 minutes ago

    The World Bank announced it will release $300 million in loans to help facilitate the labor market for Syrian refugees in Jordan. The funds will be used to attract investors and create reforms that will help grant access to the Syrian labor force, … More »

  • European stocks climb at open AFP - 1 hour 16 minutes ago

    Europe's main stock markets rose at the open of trading on Wednesday, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index climbing 0.3 percent to 6,826.28 points. In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 grew 0.6 percent ... … More »

  • Zuckerberg initiative poaches AstraZeneca board member Reuters - 1 hour 17 minutes ago

    The $3 billion (2.3 billion pounds) health initiative set up by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan has hired one of AstraZeneca's non-executive directors to head up its science drive. The British drugmaker said on … More »

  • Yellen likely to face questions about Wells Fargo
    Yellen likely to face questions about Wells Fargo Associated Press - 1 hour 17 minutes ago

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who has been in the hot seat over the central bank's interest-rate policy, now has another headache: Wells Fargo. Yellen is likely to face sharp questions from a House ... … More »

  • Rolls-Royce appoints new strategy and digital executives Reuters - 1 hour 20 minutes ago

    British engineer Rolls-Royce appointed veteran M&A banker Ben Story to oversee its strategy and marketing, and Neil Crockett to develop its digital affairs, completing its new-look senior line up on Wednesday. Rolls-Royce, in the middle of a major … More »

  • BELOW $1 MILLION: Freehold one-bedder near Dhoby Ghaut
    BELOW $1 MILLION: Freehold one-bedder near Dhoby Ghaut The Edge Property - 1 hour 21 minutes ago

    A 474 sq ft one-bedroom unit at Parc Sophia has been listed on TheEdgeProperty.com at $898,000 or $1,895 psf.Parc Sophia is a freehold apartment on Adis Road. Completed in 2011, the 152-unit development is within 300m from Dhoby Ghaut MRT … More »

  • Trump has turned over tax returns _ for lawsuits and loans
    Trump has turned over tax returns _ for lawsuits and loans Associated Press - 1 hour 29 minutes ago

    While Donald Trump won't publicly release his income tax returns, the New York businessman has turned them over when it suited his needs — if he stood to make a profit, needed a loan or when a judge forced ... … More »

  • US fines RBS bank $1.1 bn over pre-crisis mortgages
    US fines RBS bank $1.1 bn over pre-crisis mortgages AFP News - 1 hour 32 minutes ago

    Royal Bank of Scotland on Wednesday said it had agreed a fine of $1.1 billion (982 million euros) with US authorities over the alleged mis-selling of mortgage securities ahead of the 2008 financial crisis. It comes a week after US authorities said … More »

  • Asian stock markets turn lower after Wall Street gains
    Asian stock markets turn lower after Wall Street gains Associated Press - 1 hour 39 minutes ago

    Major Asian stock markets were lower Wednesday after investors were reassured by trade-friendly Hillary Clinton's performance in a U.S. presidential debate with rival Donald Trump. KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's ... … More »

  • Bank of America Sees China Crisis, BlackRock Only Bumps in Road Bloomberg - 1 hour 41 minutes ago

    David Cui, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s head of China equity strategy, and Helen Zhu of BlackRock were among speakers at the Bloomberg Markets Most Influential conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday. The session gave a snapshot of views on the … More »

  • Travel firm TUI Group nudges up full-year profit outlook
    Travel firm TUI Group nudges up full-year profit outlook Reuters - 1 hour 43 minutes ago

    Holiday company TUI Group lifted its 2015/16 core profit guidance on Wednesday, helped by strong demand from British tourists and a lower exposure than its biggest rival to Turkey which has been hit by security fears. TUI said on Wednesday that it … More »

  • Shareholders vote on AB Inbev-SABMiller beer megamerger
    Shareholders vote on AB Inbev-SABMiller beer megamerger AFP News - 1 hour 44 minutes ago

    Shareholders of brewing giants Anheuser-Busch InBev and rival SABMiller will vote on Wednesday on a blockbuster merger that would create the biggest beer company in the world. Belgium-based AB InBev, the brewer of Budweiser and Stella Artois, is … More »

  • Oil climbs after industry data shows U.S. inventory draw
    Oil climbs after industry data shows U.S. inventory draw Reuters - 1 hour 45 minutes ago

    Oil prices rose in mixed trading on Wednesday, after sharp losses in the previous session, as industry data showed a surprise draw in U.S. crude stocks, although worries over a lack of agreement among producers to curb output kept a lid on gains. … More »

 
Recent Quotes
Symbol Price Change % Chg 
Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
 
Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.

MARKET MOVERS

  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.15+0.01+6.38%
    N21.SI
    0.975+0.010+1.04%
    Y92.SI
    0.144+0.002+1.41%
    5DM.SI
    3.990.000.00%
    Z74.SI
    0.67+0.05+7.20%
    BMT.SI
  • % Gainers
    % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.24+0.05+26.32%
    AWI.SI
    0.15+0.02+15.38%
    RF7.SI
    0.215+0.026+13.76%
    I07.SI
    0.13+0.01+8.33%
    5UE.SI
    0.161+0.011+7.33%
    5PL.SI
  • % Losers
    % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.112-0.028-20.00%
    BEH.SI
    0.22-0.03-13.73%
    AZT.SI
    0.66-0.05-7.04%
    BTE.SI
    0.40-0.03-6.98%
    B58.SI
    0.32-0.02-5.88%
    P9D.SI

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1.3611+0.0016+0.12%
    USDSGD=X
    1.5246-0.0003-0.02%
    EURSGD=X
    1.7690-0.0012-0.07%
    GBPSGD=X
    73.9880+0.132+0.18%
    SGDJPY=X
    5.6954-0.0069-0.12%
    SGDHKD=X
    3.0408+0.0018+0.06%
    SGDMYR=X
    9,522.0586-6.3945-0.07%
    SGDIDR=X
    4.9014-0.0041-0.08%
    SGDCNY=X
    1.0448+0.0026+0.25%
    AUDSGD=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1,326.60-3.80-0.29%
    GCZ16.CMX
    19.11-0.05-0.26%
    SIZ16.CMX
    92.98-1.47-1.55%
    ^XAU
    2.18+0.01+0.53%
    HGZ16.CMX
    43.85+0.41+0.94%
    CLV16.NYM
  • Bonds
    Bonds
    TreasuryYield (%)Yield Change
    1.11-0.02
    ^FVX
    1.56-0.03
    ^TNX
    2.28-0.05
    ^TYX