Perhaps the worst thing that could have happened to the gun industry was the expiration of Barack Obama’s term as president. As long as Obama could be held up as a roving maniac on a mission to confiscate every god-fearing American’s guns, the industry could count on buyers to scarf up ever more guns in an illogical quest to hoard the mother lode in advance of the inevitable descent of the black helicopters. (Read the 2013 Forbes story for more on this.)
This behavior was especially intense after a major gun massacre such as Sandy Hook, Aurora, San Bernardino and Orlando. After a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 at the packed Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12, 2016, the stock price of Sturm, Ruger & Co. jumped 10 percent. Now, after the first major gun massacre during Trump’s reign – the horrific sniper attack in Las Vegas that killed 59 and injured more than 500 – Sturm, Ruger’s stock blipped up just 3 percent. Smith & Wesson stock spiked up 11.5 percent after the San Bernardino attack, but only 3 percent after Vegas.
(Sidebar: Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock purchased 33 guns in the past 12 months and enough ammunition to single-handedly re-enact the Battle of the Bulge. Talk about the kind of repeat customer any company would, uh, kill for.)
It’s still sad that the stock prices of gun manufacturers increase at all after a tragedy instead of cratering in the way Boeing stock would if one of their planes fell from the sky. But it seems clear that gun owners no longer irrationally fear national confiscation of guns and the repeal of the 2nd amendment.
The odd thing is that there was never anything to the canard that Obama or his minions sought to take away the guns. How did the fearful gun owner think such a sweeping action could be carried out – and on what authority? Clearly the angst was ginned up by the likes of the NRA which has long ceased being an advocate for gun owners, trading in the mission to be the advocate for gun makers.
Gun manufacturers have done well under the enemy Obama. The big question now: how well will they do under a compliant Trump and a look-aside Republican Congress?
I’ve got nothing against the late Tom Petty who died (I guess) this past week, but when he popped on the scene in 1976 with his band The Heartbreakers I was a bit pissed. As a big fan of the burgeoning NYC punk music scene in the mid-70s I followed the likes of the New York Dolls, Television, Talking Heads, The Dictators, and Patti Smith. In 1975, Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan of the New York Dolls and Richard Hell of Television split away to form a new killer band called … The Heartbreakers.
I would mention a song from the first Heartbreakers’ album “L.A.M.F.” and I’d get a response like “that doesn’t sound like Tom Petty.” Too bad there’s no copyright protection for names of bands.
Presumably Tom Petty’s songs – “Breakdown,” “American Girl” – were easier on American ears than the hard-driving material produced by the bad boys of what became Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, because Petty’s Heartbreakers far outlasted Thunder’s Heartbreakers and garnished infinitely more recognition and accolades.
Still, you have to ask yourself – which of these front-men strikes you as the bigger heartbreaker?