Shares of gunmakers such as Sturm, Ruger & Co. (RGR) and Smith & Wesson maker American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) rose sharply Monday after a mass shooting in Las Vegas left more than 50 dead and hundreds injured. The episode is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
After 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada opened fire on concertgoers late Sunday, investors began buying shares of gunmakers in anticipation of a jump in gun sales as a result of the shooting. Shares of Sturm, Ruger & Co. rose 3% in early trading Monday, American Outdoor Brands jumped 5%, while Vista Outdoor (VSTO) popped 2%.
It’s become a common trend for gun stocks to jump after mass shootings in the U.S. That’s in part because investors are predicting a boon in sales as people buy firearms as a means of self-defense after harrowing events. Sales may also spike because weapons buyers fear that in the aftermath of an attack, lawmakers might pass rules making guns tougher to buy.
Still, shares of gunmakers in general have remained depressed since President Donald Trump took the White House in November. While the threat of gun control seemed much more pertinent during President Barack Obama’s presidency, gun owners have been less concerned about Trump and his administration imposing tougher gun controls on the country. Gun sales have fallen steadily this year, with background checks related to firearm purchases reaching their lowest point in three years during the second quarter.
Despite reports that Trump is considering relaxing oversight of foreign gun sales, shares of American Outdoor have fallen 46% since the November elections, Vista has dropped 40%, while Sturm, Ruger is down 16%.