Gun stocks have risen sharply on Monday, a market trend sparked by the deadly mass shooting that rocked Las Vegas and the United States late Saturday night. The shooting took place during an outdoor concert featuring country music superstar Jason Aldean and, as CNN reports, and has left at least 58 people dead and more than 500 more wounded. It is now being called the deadliest mass shooting American history.
The stock market responded to the shooting on Monday morning with positive gains for gun stocks, including Sturm Ruger (RGR), whose share prices rose 6 percent. American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) (formerly known as Smith & Wesson) Smith & Wesson rose almost 7 percent. The increase in value is not a shock to money experts, as both companies have seen their stock values soar in the aftermath of previous mass shootings in the United States, reports CNN Money.
In the past, mass shootings such as those that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, San Bernardino in December of 2015, and Orlando in June of 2016 triggered fear among gun owners that new gun control measures would be forthcoming. Consumer anxiety regarding new gun restrictions led, in turn, to increased gun sales and soaring gun company stock prices.
Despite the fears of gun owners and second amendment promoters, stricter federal gun laws weren’t passed during the Obama administration. Even so, during the former president’s two terms in the White House, he spoke out in favor of more stricter gun control, including keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill and closing the so-called “gun loophole.” Widespread fears of sweeping new legislation kept gun sales steady and gun stocks high from 2008 to 2016.
Steady gun sales and stock prices continued until Donald Trump’s unexpected White House win in November — gun owners feared that Hillary Clinton’s political agenda could restrict their access to firearms. The Trump win stifled those fears, and gun company sales and stock prices have steadily fallen during the first months of the Trump administration, which was endorsed by the National Rifle Association. In August, Sturm Ruger claimed that the company’s earnings had fallen over 50 percent from last year, and blamed 2016 directly for this year’s losses.
“[Main reason for the drop in sales was] due to stronger-than-normal demand during most of 2016, likely bolstered by the political campaigns for the November 2016 elections.”
Last night’s deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas appears to have prompted a turnaround when it comes to gun sales. In the aftermath, calls for stricter gun control have already been suggested by politicians and terrified private American citizens alike. As in the wake of mass shootings in the recent past, fears that Saturday night’s deadly shooting could prompt new gun control legislation appears to have some Americans racing to purchase firearms before it’s too late.
While the gun industry appears to be benefiting from this weekend’s deadly mass shooting, Las Vegas casino stocks aren’t faring nearly as well. Share prices of several Vegas hotels, including MGM Resorts, are down on Monday in response to the unprecedented Saturday night rampage.
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