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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Jan 16, 2013 5:10PM

Exactly which Rights has been taken away from you by President Obama; it seems that you are still exercising your usual rights of stupidity? The America people apparently are scared to death of their so called fellow Americans, but somehow believe some kind of war amongst each other will be a walk in the park. Oh really, and all the 711's will be open while we are killing each other I guess?  Get real people, your playing around with putting to motion exactly what you think these "People Killers" are going to protect you from.  Have you thought about teaching your mothers, and wives to shoot to kill as well?  Where are you going to get your food from, your gasoline to drive your pickups, how about electricity; do you honestly think life will go on as usual except for an occasional fire fight taking your kids to school...WHAT SCHOOLs.  There will not be any open, neither will there be grocery stores, farmers growing crops....The NRA and Limbaugh and that Crew will be the first ones on a plane out of here if they see its all hitting the fan.. If you folks get what you are buying these "People Killers" for be prepared to be out doors men from now on...and that means no more Sunday football. Many of the folks buying these guns could not do two minutes of hand to hand combat or know how dress a gaping wound of blood from an artery...Weekend cowboys!

Jan 16, 2013 5:10PM

Criminals will have assault rifles why can't we?

Jan 16, 2013 5:08PM
WE >>>>> need them  to    take   back  the usa.............  from the   1/2 black and white s (THE RICH ONES)...the have  taken us as    low lifes...ITS  IT   T I M E +++   its going to happen.... THIS IS     B ...S.   guns   NEVER KILLED ANY ONE   ....its   JACKASSS that SHOULD N;T  HAVE THEM...
Jan 16, 2013 5:08PM
Just heard on NPR that 55% of all gun deaths are do you stop that...or even should you?
Jan 16, 2013 5:07PM
We already have more guns than people, so tighter laws will have little impact.  The problem with guns is that too many are owned by idiots. Hardly a day goes by that you don't hear of a kid picking up a  handgun and either killing himself, a sibling, or a friend. Kids are naturally attracted to guns, and any parent that keeps a loaded gun in the house should be held criminally liable when something like this happens. Talk about stupid, just last week someone shot himself in the foot at a local restaurant with a gun he kept in his pocket.  I've heard of "butt dialing", but "butt shooting" is ridiculous.  Maybe one way to curb this kind of behavior is to require that all gun owners carry liability insurance on their guns, just like we do for cars. 
Jan 16, 2013 5:05PM
People of the World, please pay Attention! This is Satan's world....end of debate!! Nothing will change for the good.

Jan 16, 2013 5:02PM
Obummer signed 23 executive orders today crashing the 2nd amendement.  Even to the point of allowing YOUR DOCTOR to ask you if you have guns in YOUR HOME. (executive order #16)
Jan 16, 2013 4:58PM
are you surprised/ this is not our country anymore. they need to tear down the statue of liberty and ship it back to europe where it belongs to many non americans now,also to much internet and tv shows  with agendas not in our favor. its to LATE.
Jan 16, 2013 4:57PM
So Obama wants tougher penalties on those who buy guns for criminals -  I agree.  However, I not only feel that should apply to the "commoner" but to all those who put guns in the hands of criminals.  Eric Holder broke the law and people died because of that violation, but we all know nothing will be done!  Obama is pushing his normal 'smoke & mirrors' agenda, what he did today will NOT change anything for the criminal, only for the law abiding "commoner" that Obama so deeply despises.
Jan 16, 2013 4:56PM

Now it`s time for the right wingers to tell us how assult weapons are

good for the country.

Jan 16, 2013 4:56PM

I am all for peace & ending a war & keeping our children safe... BUT taking our gunds away is NOT the answer to this problem. Maybe we should try teaching our children peacefulness & love & helping other people that are less fortunate. Teach them about God or the higher spirits (whatever you believe). Teach them ALOHA, Mr Obama!!!!  If they care cared for & loved by their parents & families their hearts will be in the right place & they won't be angry all the time. There does need to be background checks & mental illness should be taken into consideration, but that is not where most of the general population is that want to protect their rights! We do not need MORE government regulations! We need more love & understanding within our society, thus it WILL bring more Peace!!!! So sad to see our great nation coming to this!

Jan 16, 2013 4:55PM
Any talk of logically limiting guns and ammo sales in anyway brings out the crazies! The NRA and their mindless followers are little more than terrorists - holding our society hostage.
Jan 16, 2013 4:54PM

NOT TO MENTION BIDENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Jan 16, 2013 4:50PM

looks like all the redneck hillbillies had their liberal friends at work read them this article, and now they're trying to respond intelligently.

uh, good luck with that

Jan 16, 2013 4:49PM
King Obama makes up more BS than all the presidents put together.  He is a joke
Jan 16, 2013 4:48PM
There are 315 million guns in America. There is no chance of getting them all. If you want to ban guns you are in for a losing fight. Oh. There are many ways to kill large groups of people whick are faster than an AR-15. Many. Think about it.
Jan 16, 2013 4:48PM
You are all being monitored, and your homes will be inspected soon.
Jan 16, 2013 4:46PM
there can be absolutly no room to doubght that obama is 100 percent trying to start a civil war. his lincon infacuation is going to his head. Time to have our military remove him from the whitehouse.
Jan 16, 2013 4:42PM
Yep, he's a SPECIAL kind of STUPID......
Jan 16, 2013 4:39PM

 "tyrannical all-out assault on liberty" well at least obama is stating one true fact about himself...


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