Pulse Nightclub Massacre Sends Major Gun Stocks Skyrocketing

Pulse Nightclub Massacre Sends Major Gun Stocks Skyrocketing
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The share prices of several major firearms companies have skyrocketed following news of a mass shooting at a gay Orlando nightclub Pulse on Sunday which killed at least 50, including the shooter, and wounded at least 53 others.

Shares in the United States' biggest publicly traded gun manufacturers, Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Sturm Ruger & Co. Inc., "rose by 11% and 10% in early trading and ended the day up 6.8% and 8.5% respectively," the Guardian reported on Monday.

The spike in stock prices likely reflect the well-known trend for gun sales to skyrocket following mass shootings across the country. According to Pennsylvania State University criminal justice associate professor Lacey Wallace, such incidents tend to produce small but significant increases in federal background checks on firearms purchases. Other events such as the election and re-election of President Barack Obama, who is pro-gun control, have resulted in significant short-term spikes in gun purchases, the New York Times added.

With the number of such shootings rising in recent years, gun companies are doing quite well. According to the Intercept's Lee Fang, firearms executives commonly refer to mass shootings and terror attacks as contributing factors to strong sales periods; in May, Sturm Ruger Chief Executive Michael O. Fifer called the upcoming election a "big opportunity for the distributors to step up and take on inventory."

"S&W's share price has already rise 39% in the last 12 years, making it one of the best performing investments on the US stock markets," wrote the Guardian. "Sturm Ruger's shares have risen about 6%."

Citizens struck with gun fever usually face few obstacles obtaining firearms. On Monday, the Inquirer's Helen Ubiñas reported she was able to purchase an AR-15, a rifle with similar capabilities to the Sig Sauer MCX rifle used in Orlando, in seven minutes.

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