On Sunday, President Obama called for making it harder to buy assault weapons after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. On Monday, the stock prices of two top gun makers, Smith & Wesson and Ruger, soared, says the New York Times. “President Obama has actually been the best salesman for firearms,” said Brian Ruttenbur, an analyst with BB&T Capital Markets. Fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone, according to federal background-check data analyzed by the Times.
After the Newtown, Ct., school shooting, gun sales did not set records until five days later, after Obama sought a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. “It would be like you've never owned a toaster, you don't really want a toaster, but the federal government says they're going to ban toasters,” Ruttenbur said. “So you go out and buy a toaster.” Gun sales have more than doubled in a decade, to about 15 million in 2013 from about seven million in 2002. More firearms are sold to U.S. residents than those in any other nation, says Jurgen Brauer of Georgia Regents University. Estimates undercount total sales because they omit some purchases in states that do not require background checks for private sales. They also exclude permits that allow people in some states to buy multiple guns with a single background check. The increase is mostly due to higher sales of handguns, which are typically bought for self-defense. Two of the fastest-growing segments of the market are women and gun owners with concealed carry permits.