Friday, March 04, 2016

Dealers in Death

Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson almost doubled its profits in its latest quarter, the company announced. The period included the San Bernardino massacre that left 14 people dead and 22 seriously injured. A Smith & Wesson M&P15 assault rifle was used in the attack. The company said demand has been so strong that it has ramped up production at its gun factories, as some distributors have begun to run out of some of its most popular firearms.

The world’s largest gun company reported that it made gross profits of $86.7m (£61.1m) in the three months to the end of January – a 98% increase on the same quarter a year earlier. The company recorded total sales of $210m, up from $131m a year earlier. It takes Smith & Wesson sales in the first nine months of its financial year to $502m. Smith & Wesson’s shares spiked 6.3% to $27 in after-hours trading following the earnings release. The company’s shares have risen by 1,074% while Barack Obama has been in the White House. Over the same period, the S&P 500 index of leading US companies’ shares has risen by 130%.

Wall Street analyst Brian Ruttenbur called Obama, who in January announced a string of executive actions designed to strengthen laws on gun sales, “the best salesman for firearms”. The boss of the nation’s other big listed gun company Sturm, Ruger & Co has said he expects a big jump in demand for firearms if a Democrat wins the presidential election in November.

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