Gun stocks rise as Obama presses for reform

Investors are betting that strong gun sales will continue in anticipation of a crackdown on assault weapons.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 19, 2012 3:49PM
Image: Arrow Up (Photodisc/Photolibrary)Shares of two major gun makers, Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Sturm Ruger (RGR), rose Wednesday as President Obama set up a task force on gun violence and asked for reform proposals by next month.

Wall Street is betting that demand for guns will continue to rise ahead of a crackdown on sales of military-style weapons that many expect Obama to push for in the aftermath of Friday's mass murder at a Connecticut elementary school.

Smith & Wesson traded at $8.47 Wednesday afternoon, a gain of nearly 9%. Sturm Ruger jumped about 6% to $43.06. Shares of both stocks have been in a downturn from early December. Still, Smith & Wesson's shares have almost doubled this year while Sturm Ruger has surged more than 28%.

In a press conference in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, Obama announced that Vice President Joe Biden would lead the task force focusing on ways to reduce gun violence. He vowed that the group would not be "some Washington commission" whose recommendations would soon be forgotten. Biden's group is tasked with developing a set of "concrete proposals" due no later than January, according to Obama.

"This time the words need to lead to action," he said. "The fact that this problem is complicated can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing."

The slaughter of 20 young children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., has shaken the gun industry and society as a whole to its core. Gun control has suddenly rocketed to the forefront of discussions in Washington and in big business. Cerberus Capital, a private equity firm, announced plans Tuesday to sell gun manufacturer Freedom Group, whose products include the .223 caliber Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the killings. Some retailers, such as Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), are pulling some semi-automatic weapons from their shelves.

It's unclear whether Cerberus will be able to find a buyer, or for how long retailers will suspend sales of what the industry calls "modern sporting rifles." The National Rifle Association and the lesser-known National Shooting Sports Federation, which is also based in Newton, Conn., are powerful voices in this national debate. The NRA is planning what it describes as a "major" announcement Friday and is promising "meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

Obama reiterated his support Wednesday for the rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms under the Second Amendment, noting a tradition of gun ownership in the U.S. that goes back generations. But many people are starting to question whether this right extends to military-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. Both sides agree on the need to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous mentally ill people.  

Whether these sorts of actions could have averted the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., is tough to say. Police say shooter Adam Lanza used his mother's weapons to carry out his heinous act after murdering her in the home they shared. Gun owners often argue that all the gun control laws in the world won't stop a determined madman from hurting innocent people. But, as Obama noted, that view is a cop-out.

"We won't prevent them all, but that cannot be an excuse not to try," he said.

More from Money Now

Dec 20, 2012 12:01PM
I have been desperately trying to get the Media to accept some of the responsibly due to the fact that they , the Media, TV and Video game industries are teaching our children and adults how to kill without remorse. They are being desensitized by the reality of the video games. I have written every major newspaper editor, the vice president, the governor of California etc trying to get them to report on the effects that these industries have on the people that watch and play the video games (IF YOU WANT TO CALL IT THAT) These so called games are the same tools that the armed forced use to train their troops. You wonder why the assault rifle is the weapon of choice, it is because that is the weapon mostly used in the video games. The guns laws won't do a darn thing except  piss people off and provoke them.  My heartfelt sorrow goes out to the victims, families, communities and last but certainly not least THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA for allowing these violent teachings to continue. It is always about the money.
Dec 20, 2012 11:57AM

The problem is the people we let run our government who either don't understand or don't care about the  freedoms and rights our for fathers fought and died for. We need to stop blaming inanimate objects for tragedies and look at individual people and the direction our society is headed in a whole. If you ban certain guns for being used by sick people for violence,then lets start banning alcohol and automobiles for there use in drunk driving fatalities!

Dec 20, 2012 11:54AM
We have armed guards and all types of security for our Bankers and Politicians , but the first answer is ban things and punish law abiding citizens rather than address mental health issues and security issues . 
Dec 20, 2012 11:49AM

The only way an AR 15 can be sold, it can only  be sold to former military personal. They would have to show  idenification proving that they have served in the United States Military. If a person has  not served no sale can be made. There are a lot of service men and women who suffer from PTSD. To obtain the information if a service man who suffers from PTSD it can be obtained from any veterans hospitl or from the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marine Corp. This is only a saftey precaution. When you have men of think they are "GI Joe" and have not served in the United States Military you are asking for trouble. Because these are the morons who wind up wounding or killing some for not knowing how to use the AR 15.


The second choice is that if a buyer is going to purchase an AR 15 they must go through a 10 day waiting period and then take a 10 day traing course at their expense. With these two there wil be no "GUN SALE", no execption.


The whole key to this is that the buyer has to wait 10 days and take a 10 day training course at their expense. NO only are they paying for for the AR 15 what ever the cost of the of the AR15 is and the price of the training course.


A gun or a rifle, shot gun, and kind of assualt weapen can not be purchased until both the sale and training have been completed.


Every state should have what Illinois has is a Fire Arms Owners  Idenification Card or what is know in Illinois as a FOID card this give the "privilege" not the right but the "privilege" purachase a gun, rifle, shot gun, or assualt rifle. The Illinois State Police are the one who give this privilege because the Illinois State Police are the ones who do the back ground check. 

Dec 20, 2012 11:49AM
If states were smart, they would capitalize on the ignorance, cynicism and fear by imposing an immediate tax hike of 90-100% on all guns and ammunition sales. The rationale would be to cover costs of additional police and public safety responses necessitated by additional guns. It would be roughly equivalent to high taxes on tobacco products.  It would not be an additional regulation or ban on gun sales. But if these folks are going to run out in fear and buy up guns [that will cause home accidents, domestic violence, be lost or stolen, etc] then the public should build up a response fund to deal with the consequent problems.
Dec 20, 2012 11:47AM

As an octogenarian my opinions deal with several issues. The first is why does no one admit that mind control , that is ,that the  movie industry and TV does show a lot of grisly detail in their films. The show "burn notice"  for instance goes into detail on  actions? I'm sure these "films" do give ideas to warped minds.


 Our own government misdeeds like incinerating many innocents at WACO didn't get any replies from those who viewed the destruction done by Reno and Slick Willy. Children were killed there too. Some who tried to escape were picked off by "OUR" own snipers. makes you feel proud to be an American huh? Why did Lon Horiuchi the sniper feel it was his duty to shoot Weavers wife in the head while she was holding her child , or who shot the son and their dog? Bet he got a medal.


The main reason I see for removing guns as Jefferson told us , is that a "government" out of controls , which is what we have now fears an armed populace which we should as armed citizens be able to return to a constitutional republic .Who is there in this country who isn't bought off by the NWOdor cabal to lead the sheep?  Yes I was in  the air force and my God given right is to keep my gun, not turn it over to a slavemaster..  



Dec 20, 2012 11:47AM
Yes , we need to make guns as illegal and hard to get as , say , Drugs , They are illegal so no one smokes pot , does cocaine , heroin , pills . Laws will work , That is why our courts and prisons don't have to deal with drugs anymore .  Along with that since I don't  use aircraft , Public or Private , We should ban them to . No person can say a plane in the wrong hands isn't a weapon . Just wait all you private plane owners , a terrorist  flies a Cessna into a football stadium and the ban hysteria will be on .       
Dec 20, 2012 11:46AM
It seems the delusional anti-gun nuts are more concerned with numbers than curing the problem. They believe by banning semi-auto weapons and high capacity magazines there will be "reduction" in the number of people killed at one time....oh goody, that sounds right! Then they believe by "punishing" legal, law abiding, gun owning citizens all this will stop, yal that's the ticket! By adding new Laws to the already existing guns Laws, that the criminals and crazies care less about and brake without thought, and only the citizen will follow, the burden is only on, once again, the citizen! Isn't amazing to think Law Enforcement  knows where the illegal guns are but make "no" attempt to secure them?, look at Chicago, New York, LA, Huston, Philadelphia and most inner Cities where gangs and criminal have immunity it seems! Now for the crazies, the people who have committed all these shootings (mentally ill and determined), once again who do they go after?, the citizen! Take the Tucson shooter, he had a history of run-ins with the Law and a background of mental illness but "Government agencies" couldn't put it together so he could buy a gun...that's the citizen's fault??? And when you have crazies you have little chance of prevention because you just don't know when one will go off, also the citizen's fault??? Until it is understood it's the criminals and crazies, not the citizen, who are responsible for most of the gun violence and steps are taken to address them, you get nothing but more violence!!!!!!!!!!....
Dec 20, 2012 11:46AM

Let's see. Outside of a handful of liberal s****ing pig politicians and  your usual compliment of worthless media personnel, I can't say as I really hear an uproar from the mainstream calling for gun control. It really pisses me off that a small minority can rule the day. we can sit here and make all the excuses in the world but at the end of the day, it wasn't the NRA's fault, it wasn't the guns fault, IT WAS THE JERK  THAT PERPETRATED THE CRIME. All this does is create a golden opportunity for our socialist president and his liberal scum to push their agenda. What pisses me off even more is the conservative side of this seems to be waffling to their calls. I hope to god when it's all said and done, they find their backbone and shout these liberal sons-of-bitches down.

Dec 20, 2012 11:45AM

Banning a class of weapon or banning high capacity magazines will not change anything.  Any rational person should be able to see this.  Stop discussing the same rhetoric and propose new laws that will help.  The major issue is accountability, period.  Accountability for those who own firearms, for those who transfer or sell them, for those whose job it is to secure places of education, and accountability for the care of mentally ill individuals. 

Require gun owners to properly secure weapons they own in safes so that the control of their weapons are limited.  Require all transfers of firearms to go through an FFL so that background checks won't be as easily circumvented.  Hold gun owners responsible through legal recourse should their weapons be used in the commission of a crime and require thefts of weapons to be reported to law enforcement within 24 hours.  Require those that carry a concealed weapon to undergo more intensive education and a more intensive course of fire in order to carry a weapon; similiar to law enforcement. If they meet those more stringent requirements, remove all the limitations placed on where they can carry.

I recognize that laws can be broken no matter what is put in place. I also only list a few ideas and recognize that there are more ideas that could be debated. The point is to think outside the box and stop crying for the disarming of society everytime something happens. It has not worked in the past, and it will not work in the future.  It is time to actually think.

Dec 20, 2012 11:44AM
    If by chance a civil war were to come of this there will be no winners. But some things are worth fighting for. Our over all liberty's are slowing dying & going by the way side. We can find common ground, but with Obama in office & his very narrow view of turning the gov & country in to a God less country, It's not going to be reversed.  He's allowing the country to get back in to a recession & no spending cuts in sight. I have never seen a president so intent on destroying a nation & dividing people & he seems to be doing this w/ ease.........Wake up AMERICA or it will be too late
Dec 20, 2012 11:42AM
Rahm Emanuel wants more gun control so his city pot smokers dont shoot themselves, this guy is some kind of idiot, there is a federal law thst pot is ilegal,does the state of washington and colorado know this. The government has not done a damn thing or will they. taking away guns from citizens will only make it better for the crooks. does anyone out there think the gov. can do a correct gun control?What in the world is wrong with some of these retailers ,they should see what if any kind of   law is passed,I wont buy anything from that store again. we have pit bulls killing children does the gov do any thing about that? where is the law about owning one of those dogs? dont you think they should shoot them all? then the problem would be stoped quinn wants something done now about guns,he cant manage state workers, they are running all over him,but dont forget about his pension ,state police pensions,they will make more when they retire than when they were working?What makes these people so special, they always show up after the fact,mayby the dog catcher should be in that group, makes about as much sence!
Dec 20, 2012 11:41AM
Yes Mr. President, there are two Americas. One that wishes to give it's freedoms and rights away to you wholesale, no questions asked, and one that wants to retain it's freedoms and rights for themselves by all means available including God and guns. The discussion needs to be had now about creating the two Americas, The United States of Democracy for the left and the Republic of the United States for the right. It is perfectly clear that you are president for only half of the people of this divided country and that you want to dictate your personal wills and preferences on all of us. The issue at hand today is about individual liberty, individual rights in a dangerous world and the freedom of individuals to procure and possess their liberty and rights. The first time it was about states rights, slavery and preservation of the union.
Dec 20, 2012 11:31AM
Blame objects and not the people who are truly the cause of the crime, nice job.

Taking away firearms is kind of like taking away steering wheels from cars because drunks drive drunk and kill people.

How would you like it if every vehicle was required to have a ignition lock breathalyzer because drunks kill people with their cars?  This is also similar. 

Just because a nutcase goes crazy, doesn't mean the rest of us who won't be doing such things deserve to pay the consequences for their actions.  It is a kneejerk reaction on the part of control freaks.

Don't punish society for the problems created by a few.

Dec 20, 2012 11:30AM
Guns are bad!  Take them away from all citizens...err...Obama's "Subjects".  Good little peeps don't need guns, right?  If all the guns are taken away from good people, all crime would end, right?  Of course I'm right!!  phew!...problem solved!
Dec 20, 2012 11:29AM
Banning a rifle because it "looks" scary to people ignorant of firearms.  Liberal logic 101.
Dec 20, 2012 11:28AM
Barr writes, "Whether these sorts of actions could have averted the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., is tough to say."  Hardly.  None of the proposed actions would have mattered.  Had Lanza's mother been responsible enough to lock up her guns (as the majority of gun-owners do), her evil son would probably not have prevented from his sick actions.  I say probably because evil often does find another way. All this posturing by the Obama-Feinstein-Biden crowd is so tawdry.
Dec 20, 2012 11:28AM
Maybe the president should threaten to ban used and new improve the housing market.
Dec 20, 2012 11:23AM

Look at the history of the world, governments all over the world that have banned guns or confiscated them from private citizens only do it to control the citizens and have them at their total mercy. They use these masscures as an excuse to try and ban guns, when all along they know banning them will leave us defentless against them.


Governments around the world have slaughtered millions upon millions of their own people after gun confiscation or bans !! We citizens have to stay armed in America if we want to survive!!


I hope my post is seen by someone that has input. It is heartwrenching when Americans see any type of tragedy, of any nature, that takes the lives of innocent people! Gun reform? The select few that commit these violent acts of rage upon innocent people are not going to be affected by gun reform! The mentally challenged, the leader of cults, the criminal masterminds, and the terrorists that commit these acts will never be affected by any type of gun reform. Can't you understand?; that regardless of any "legal" steps, that one may take to prevent these tragedies from happening, these type of people will find a way to obtain their means of destruction!!!! They will use the black market to obtain all types of weaponry....and if they can't get their hands on chemicals or guns or bombs or whatever else is in their arsenal of rage.......they will find ANY MEANS to create the damage they wish to inflict. I will tell you who will be is US......THE INNOCENT LAW ABIDING CITIZENS who always get the brunt of consequences for these others' actions. When will this change? It is not our fault that someone had a breakdown and performed such horrible and tragic damage to so many people (in passing and alive).  Please hear what I am saying. Let us protect ourselves from these uncertain times.......because I guarentee the only ones you'll remove, are the ones from the innocent American's hands. The criminals and anyone who decides to be so enraged will ALWAYS find a way to obtain exactly what they want. If you think're naive! Thank you for reading this post, and if you have any input.....please forward.     Love, a concerned mother/grandmother

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