Gun sales jump as Obama eyes restrictions

Business could not be better for the gun industry lately, and it's preparing for a tough fight against proposals the president laid out Wednesday.

By Kim Peterson Jan 16, 2013 2:45PM
Credit: Steve Marcus / Reuters
Caption: A man looks at Mossberg shotgun during the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas
Image File Name: GunSales_011613_RM_300President Obama knows he's taking on a formidable opponent in the gun industry. It's well funded, vocal, intensely popular with many Americans and growing quickly.

Guns have become a huge business in America, and sales lately have been through the roof as enthusiasts worried their rights would be compromised. Gun stores report lines out the door and low supplies, and shoppers report examples of price gouging on high demand.

It's hard to pin down the number of guns sold lately, since gun makers don't report unit sales. And it's tough to rely on the number of FBI background checks, since a reported 40% of gun sales are made with no background check at all.

But you can look at the rising number of background checks lately as an indication of momentum, and that momentum appears very strong indeed. The FBI said its instant background check system processed 2.8 million requests last month, almost 1 million more than a year earlier. Some of the largest increases took place in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Virginia, Oregon and Alaska, according to the Governing website.

Investors seem to have no worries about the gun industry. Shares of the two major gun makers were jumping Wednesday after Obama's call for sweeping gun control measures. The stock price of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (SWHC) rose more than 4% to $8.79. Shares of Sturm Ruger & Co. (RGR) rose 4% to $49.92.
Both stocks have seen significant growth over the last year. Shares of Smith & Wesson are up some 75% over that period, while Sturm Ruger has risen 25%.

Would investors be betting so heavily on a decelerating industry? Of course not, and Wall Street has thus sent its verdict to Obama: Your proposals are not happening.

The National Rifle Association came out swinging even before Obama unveiled a list of 23 executive actions he thinks will cut gun violence. At the NRAStandandFight website, the association unveiled a video Tuesday calling Obama an "elitist hypocrite" because his children are protected by armed guards.
The NRA said it has seen an "unprecedented" spike in membership numbers in the last month, CNN reports, with 250,000 people joining the 4.25 million existing members.

Obama recognized the battle ahead, and tried to appeal to Republicans in his speech by invoking former president Ronald Reagan, who supported a ban on assault weapons in 1994. That ban expired in 2004 and was never renewed.

Obama said that implementing his proposals will be difficult. He added that pundits, lawmakers and lobbyists will warn Americans of a "tyrannical all-out assault on liberty" in order to gin up fear or higher ratings or more revenue.

"The only way we can change is if the American people demand it," he said, urging people to call their Congressional lawmakers. "Along with our freedom to live our lives as we will comes an obligation to allow others to do the same. We don't live in isolation. We live in a society."

The NRA, for its part, is promising to give Obama "the fight of the century," according to the Washington Post. In a fund-raising letter to the group's members, association executive Wayne LaPierre had this to say: "It's not about protecting your children. It's not about stopping crime. It's about banning your guns. . . PERIOD!"

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272Comments
Jan 16, 2013 3:50PM
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I have NOOOO problem with extended background checks, or any other means to prevent guns from being in the wrong hands.  BUT, putting forth laws that remove guns, "assault rifles", and extended capacity magazines from LAW ABIDING citizens, simply means that NON-LAW ABIDING citizens are only ones that will have them.
Jan 16, 2013 3:44PM
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We can pass every kind of gun law or gun ban imaginable and it won’t help one emotionally or mentally ill person, or address the continuing moral decay of our society. Pandora is out of the box, there are too many guns already out there for a 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 issues not a shallow propaganda campaign that takes away a law abiding citizens ability to stop someone on a rampage or prevent a criminal act. Take away guns and bad people will adapt, doesn’t matter if they use box cutters, or fertilizer bombs they will find another way to hurt and kill.
Jan 16, 2013 3:49PM
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Obama swore an oath to defend the Constitution.   He obviously cannot read...  What part of the Second Amendment can he not understand?  

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  

In Jefferson's time, militia's were not provided arms by the state.  The Supreme Court has ruled that militia membership is not required to bear arms.  Thus the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  This means that any regulation, law or executive order that infringes upon those rights is unconstitutional.  And as such can be ignored.  Lawmakers at all levels that defy the Constitution can only be considered to be traitors.   NYer's should ignore the newly passed laws.  The violate the Constitution, plain and simple.

Down with the traitors.  Un-elect every democrat you can.  

Jan 16, 2013 3:44PM
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Obama is taking on the American people. Arrogant!
Jan 16, 2013 4:01PM
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Liberals have destroyed  family values and the work ethic that built America. Now they think legislation will fix the chaos caused by their "progression". Democrats are totally clueless and spineless freeloaders. You cant fix stupid and lazy by taxing the responsible and successful.
Jan 16, 2013 3:51PM
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Pages and pages of gun control on MSN and ONLY a little 4 paragraph article on how the government has its hand in the federal employee pension fund?  While everyone is sidetrack by the guns, Ole Timmy G. has been borrowing from the federal employee pension fund to pay our debts.  Timmy G. said the government would put the money back after the debt ceiling has been raised.  Yeah, right, just like they put the money back after the government raped social security.
Jan 16, 2013 3:58PM
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What a crock of BS, 900 gun deaths. How many of those were from "assault rifles"??!!!  Yeah, exactly, three maybe. Talking out of both sides of their mouth as usual. None of this will save a single life, just nipping away at more of our rights.
Jan 16, 2013 4:11PM
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The more dense the population of democrats the higher the crime and welfare rates. See Detroit, DC, Miami, Chicago, NY, LA, ST Louis, Atlanta, and Cleveland for details. These areas are the bases of Obummers support.
Jan 16, 2013 4:02PM
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WE NEED TO DO SOMTHING ABOUT THE MENTALLY CHALLENGED IN THIS COUNTRY- NOT COVER IT UP BY MAKING GUN REGULATIONS! AGAIN BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING AND TAKING AWAY YOUR RIGHTS!
Jan 16, 2013 3:37PM
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if obama had a brain....he must have given it to biden.
Jan 16, 2013 4:17PM
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He can't ban the will of the American people.  We will overcome!
Jan 16, 2013 4:16PM
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How come every time Obama "unveils" something it cost us a fortune and the hiring of new Federal employees? ....  Please "unveil" us some spending cuts for once!
Jan 16, 2013 4:14PM
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I wonder if next week Obama will be sworn in using a different set of words - he obviously can't with a straight face say he will uphold the Constitution since he did not today. 
Jan 16, 2013 4:05PM
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The majority of crimes in this country are committed near and in large cities.  And of course the cities are mostly demoncrat with a demoncrat for a Mayor.  Funny how the demoncrats want to control guns when they can't protect their own neighborhoods from crime.  I see a big move out of cities like Chicago and New York to the suburbs.  This should help with the housing markets in the suburbs.
Jan 16, 2013 4:00PM
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Ef Obama!  Go do some real work!  On hey....I said the word he is allergic to.....'real work'!
Jan 16, 2013 4:02PM
Jan 16, 2013 3:56PM
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I disagree that the rise in gun-related stock prices is a sign that wall street predicts that the changes will not happen.  I think it's wall street predicting that Americans will continue to run out to buy guns because they are worried that process will be difficult or impossible going forward.  

Anybody who has been on the fence about buying a gun is probably feeling pressure to do it now, before any legislation goes into effect.
Jan 16, 2013 4:12PM
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This is what happens when you let an idiot such as Biden loose.  I am an advocate for 100% background checks for sale of weapons by dealers to ANYONE as well as imposing personal accountability measures to include imprisonment for ANY individual that sells or exchanges or gives their weapons to anyone other than authorized dealers.  But this is where I stop - the majority of the items proposed today by President Obama are more process and regulatory oversight.  As the saying goes WE DO NOT NEED MORE STINKIN REGULATIONS.  Most of what was stated will cause more spending, more government oversight, more socialism in our society.  I do not believe we need more police, I do not believe we need more security guards - we need  more individual responsibility - of the dealers and individuals that sell the guns and of those that own guns.  
Jan 16, 2013 4:17PM
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what was obama's response to the fort hood shooting? downplayed as work place violence instead of a terrorist attack.
Jan 16, 2013 4:20PM
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Obuma has helped sell more guns than fast and furious !
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