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.

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Dec 19, 2012 5:43PM

Clearly, something must change.

The problem is;
If you remove guns, the idiots will just figure out other methods of doing bad things. This nut could have taken his moms car, and run over 20 kids in the playground at recess.

If you remove the idiots, the guns won't be an issue.

How is giving a murderer room and board, a gym, and TV for 10 years before we even consider execution, any deterrent  at all?     Enforce the laws we have!  We don't need more!

By and large, these idiots are cowards. They aren't looking for a fight. If they thought there was a good chance of being taken down by their victims, they would likely rethink their actions.

Dec 19, 2012 5:50PM
We can pass every kind of gun law or gun ban we want and it won’t help one emotionally or mentally ill person which is the true issue our country is facing. Pandora is out of the box, there are too many guns already out there for the government which is broke to do a buyback program. There are too many people fearful about the future direction our society and country is headed in to voluntarily give up their weapons.  We need to focus on the true issue not a shallow propaganda campaign that takes away a law abiding citizens ability to stop someone on a rampage or prevent a criminal act. Politicians need to stop trying to do the mental health professionals job and listen to what the mental health community is saying. Yes a little extra protection is about all anyone can do till our society address’s some of it's true problems.
Dec 19, 2012 7:04PM
Since locking aircraft cockpit doors and arming pilots along with adding air marshalls, aviation incidents are much improved.  Don't know why similar precautions in schools wouldn't have the same results.
Dec 19, 2012 6:35PM
Buy them now so you will have something to fend off this insane administration when them come to take them away. Do not waver. They are commiting treason not you.
Dec 19, 2012 9:38PM
Oakland Ca just gave $200 for each gun turned in. Great way to get rid of all your old junk guns and buy new working guns!!!
Dec 20, 2012 10:47AM
Obama, administration wants more gun laws . He should start with his own cabinet.. Holder armed drug cartels with semi automatics military type weapons as part of" Fast and Furious". They lost all means to track them. The cartels used Holder's weapons to  kill a border patrol officer with them.. When Congress wanted to investigate,  they claimed executive privilege. What a bunch of inept and deceitful bozos.
Dec 19, 2012 9:26PM
We have over 20,000 gun laws on the books now- they only affect the law-abiding gun-owners- CRIMINALS BREAK LAWS !  DUH!  How does Obama & the libs not get this?  Or, do they, & they're just using this- as Rahm Emanuel said about gun control "Never let a tragedy go to waste."- using these dead children to keep everyone emotional, so they don't think clearly, so they can push their agenda to take guns away.  They've been careful to hide their true beliefs since Clinton told them that being for gun control (& passing the original "Assault Weapon Ban") is what cost them control of Congress in 1994.  But their words reveal their true agenda- Former Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, upset that the ban in '94 didn't  require such guns already owned to be confiscated, & that it only affected certain firearms, fumed "If we can't ban all of them at once, why bother?";  Sen. Charles Schumer, commenting on the ban in '94, said "This is just the nose of the camel under the tent- wait until you get the whole camel.";  Sen. Dianne Feinstein, asked on one of the Sunday talk shows in '94 why the ban didn't require confiscation of such guns already owned, or even of all guns, said "If I thought I had 51 votes in the Senate to ban them all- Mr. & Mrs. America turn them all in- I would do it."  Sarah Brady, speaking at an NEA (National Education Association- teachers, in case one doesn't know the acronym) conference in '94 also, I believe, said "If we are to achieve our goal of making America a socialist state, we must first disarm those who would resist us."  !!!  Wake up, America! This last comment is especially chilling, & if it doesn't raise concerns, what's the matter with all of us (and, what exactly would they want to do that might evoke armed resistance?)?  Instead of ' Let's do something', which allows them to do what they want- ban certain types of guns, which doesn't affect criminals or stop crime, so that they can say "We didn't go far enough, we have to ban more guns, &/or take them away, or ban them all (Which, as their own words belie, is their true goal)- let's do something that will be effective!  That's harder, & might take longer, because the problem lies in our society, how far we've gotten away from common courtesy, common sense, respect for each other, and respect for life!  But, that's the only thing that will work- we've all got to be better, so that things will get better & more people will have hope, and be helped!  Sounds "flowery", but the 'good old days' were good (Mostly- Utopia is a fantasy, & we can't stop all bad things) for a reason- people, as a whole, were differnt. We need to get back to that, those attitudes and mores, because we know it worked. We will all be better for it.
Dec 19, 2012 6:01PM

The nutjobs in Washington will never figure this out.


For schools (including the ones that have security).....just close the doors at first bell. They can always be opened from inside since they aren't locked. If a parent comes by they can ring a bell to enter. School and emergency personnel can use a cardreader or have a key/code to enter.


They already scan an individuals background prior to selling a weapon. Find out a way to cut off sales of certain weapons to individuals housing mentally disabled persons.


Thats my 2 cents.............People are naive to believe by simply cutting off sales of guns will stop these type of crimes. Look at history, including oversees right now.....All empires eventually fall.

Dec 20, 2012 10:34AM

Our President, a thoughtful man and loving father wants to make the world a safer place for all the children.....a laudable intention.

26 humans are killed by a sick individual and the rights of the majority are at risk.

Thousands of the unborn are snuffed out, and they call it 'Choice."

Dec 20, 2012 11:06AM
Semi-auto weapons have been available for 100 years yet these mass school shooting are a new thing, so maybe it's not the guns. Look at what the entertainment industry is making now, hundreds of people killed with no emotional consequence. This same school system recently fired a substitute teacher because he quoted a Bible verse while trying to help a troubled student. Our society has lost it's moral compass, somehow we need to get it back and I don't think restricting our rights is going to help.
Dec 20, 2012 10:56AM
Give the Government your guns today, then your free speech will come tomorrow. If they can get one they can get the other. Stand up now or forever hold your peace!!!!!!!!!
Dec 20, 2012 10:28AM
The President is finally stimulating the economy. And it didn't take Washington spending to do it.
Dec 19, 2012 5:55PM
Mindless AZ Blond said;
"We need responsible gun owners like Dick Cheney."

What we need, is educated conversation and debate on how to improve the situation. 
Like maybe thoroughly training a few administrators at each school, and discretely arming them?
I wonder how many children that may have saved?

Not mindless drivel like you continuously spew.   
Dec 20, 2012 10:59AM
We have seen nothing but deceit, hypocrisy,and incompetence from this administration,that has been allowed to spread like a cancer with the help of the liberal biased media.

The media in this country have become an appendage of the White House and the Democratic National Party. They are the spokespeople for Obama and his leftist agenda. They refuse to tell the truth about the failed liberal policies in Washington.

...NBC for example will spin,distort or blackout everything and anything that doesn't fit in with their liberal ideology... The liberal media is more of being in the business of propaganda and conditioning then being anything close to a legitimate news source with checks and balances. This sort political  brainwashing is straight out of the playbook of cold war communist Russia where it's citizens were kept in the dark of the truth and the facts.We have not reached that point "yet"  but we are well on the way. The liberals now are demanding gun control and bans,  and are using the Newtown tragedy as  a springboard and catalyst  for their ideology...  Because of the sheer evil of this's easy to pull the wool over the eyes of many citizens on the subject of gun control again with the help of  media propaganda...But from the facts that is now known from the last ban on these kinds of semi automatic weapons   these bans  were a dismal failure in everyway..and these liberals know this..this is not any theory about why these bans won't work these are now a proven facts.  Liberals will continue to demonize guns and the NRA as the culprit of these evil crimes,while suppressing the truth,facts and the statistics of the real reasons why our society has become so warped, in recent years. The WH and the media has done a good job in the suppression of the "Fast and furious" debacle where this administration deliberately bought thousands of guns from licensed Texas gun store owners and gave these weapons to Mexican thugs in a effort to "frame" the gun store owners in a highly planned conspiracy to build a case for gun control,.. The result of this mindless scheme was the death of one of our American border guards and the death of at least hundreds of innocent Mexican citizens...I believe the like's of Biden,Feinstein,and Bloomberg just to name a few, will be the voice's heard the loudest in Washington,but they are only interested in the one-sided shallow concept of Gun controls and ban's that have already been proved to be ineffective and worthless. 
Dec 20, 2012 10:53AM

 Some madman gets ready to go to a school to cause great harm to those there with a gun. But he stops before he does this, because he remembers its against the law to carry a gun on school grounds.


Im not sure why people think laws will make this go away. People who commit these crimes do not think about the laws they are breaking while they are doing it, they dont care. There is a city near me that has a law stemming back many years that requies every home owner to have a gun, i believe it states a long gun. They dont have to many home invasions and burglary's. They also dont have murders connected to home owners owning guns. The city is Kennesaw,Ga.


I think people are afraid. People who dont grow up around guns are afraid of them. Some TV shows paint a gun owner as a criminal. We all dont like certain things, If we were all the same we would be robots. This is what makes america great. Freedom has never been free. It cost, and sometimes it cost a great deal. If you do not wish to be free, there is nothing holding you back from going somewhere else. Living free is a responsibility some americans do not want. They would rather be told what to do and when to do it.

Dec 20, 2012 10:58AM

If you're a law maker, you think everything can be solved with more laws. Over the years there have been tons of different laws about guns. None of them have had any effect.

Gun control laws don't work. All they do is restrict law abiding people.

The problem isn't "gun violence". It's just "violence".

Dec 19, 2012 5:41PM
I bought two today!! They were selling em mostly to the liberals cause libs believe if it feels good you should do it.
Dec 20, 2012 11:13AM

When they come fo rmy guns they better bring friends, body bags and several days of rations.


How many millions of gun owners are legal, responsible, tax paying citizens who have done NOTHING wrong?

Even with the military force, they are greatly outnumbered and it will take a huge act of war crimes and treason against the people to take our firearms.

Even then, I can gaurantee that not all military or police members will stand for shooting american citizens to take away our weapons.


You may have to stand up for what you believe one day.  Don't let Obama the socialist phuck scare you into believing anything else.

Dec 20, 2012 11:04AM
Guns are virtually illegal in Mexico. How's that working out for them?
Dec 20, 2012 11:22AM
I own a number of guns, all acquired legally -- rifles, shotguns and handguns. I have passed every background check, and I have a concealed carry permit.. Many of these mass murders would have a radically different outcome had I or any of the millions of other "gun-toting whackos" been present at the time, and were not prohibited from carrying. If even ONE faculty member was carrying and was *properly trained* this tragedy would have been either averted or significantly curtailed.

If you think limiting  magazine capacity, ammo purchases, number of guns, or any other ineffective legislated facade will render evil people impotent, you are part of the problem and need a fact-check. You are part of the problem because you are willing to trade away your freedoms and rights so cheaply -- for the illusion of "safety."

The Second Amendment was intentionally put into place to defend the First Amendment. You can't have one without the other. It really is that simple.
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