Word's great gun salesman, Barack Obama
Word’s great gun salesman, President  Barack Obama

President Barack Obama, fresh off an banner year in 2015 that saw him sell in excess of 25 million firearms, isn’t resting on his laurels.

His raft of newly-announced executive orders have firearms industry stocks soaring just days into 2016:

Gun owners may not like it when President Obama talks about guns. But gun investors certainty do.

Whenever the president discusses the need for tougher gun control laws, gun stocks go up. A lot.

It happened in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut more than three years ago.

And it happened again on Monday following reports that Obama would unveil executive actions on Tuesday that call for expanded background checks among other things.

On what turned out to be an ugly day for the overall market, shares of Smith & Wesson (SWHC) rose 6%. Sturm Ruger (RGR) popped 3%.

Ammunition makers Olin (OLN) (which owns Winchester) and Vista Outdoor (VSTO) rallied too.

And shares of sporting goods retailer Cabela’s (CAB), which generates nearly half of its sales from hunting equipment, held up relatively well amidst the broader market turmoil. The stock finished the day slightly higher.

Most of these gun stocks gained again Tuesday as Obama formally unveiled his new gun control plans.

Smith & Wesson soared another 11% in midday trading while Sturm Ruger was up 7%.

Once might be forgiven if they think that a President in his final year in office might be engaged in some sort of insider trading to boost a hidden investment portfolio heavy in firearms and ammunition industry stocks, but we’re fairly certain that isn’t the case.

Probably.

In the meantime, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)—the real firearms industry lobby, despite claims of gun control supporters blaming the National Rifle Association (NRA), put out a statement regarding the President’s questionable executive orders.

We all share the goal of reducing the intentional misuse of guns and enhancing the safety of our communities. As the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) will carefully review all aspects of the executive actions that President Obama announced today. Much remains to be spelled out. In the interim we have some initial reactions:

  • We support further resources being allocated to staffing and increasing operational hours for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to make the system more efficient and responsive.
  • We represent Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs). The criteria for what will constitute being “engaged in the business” going forward needs considerable clarification and raises questions about enforceability.
  • The number of firearms lost or stolen while in transit to or from FFLs is less than 0.15 percent of the number manufactured and imported in a given year. In these rare occurrences, FFLs already actively participate in ATF’s long-standing voluntary reporting program and FFLs and common carriers work closely with ATF to investigate them. Proposals to make a shipping FFL responsible for tracking and reporting firearms no longer in their inventories, after the legal title has been transferred to the purchaser, are misdirected, as the receiving FFL is in the best position to know if it receives its shipment.
  • We have long called for the effective enforcement of the numerous laws already on the books regarding the criminal misuse of firearms and would encourage the administration to carry through on this directive.
  • NSSF has been working actively since early 2013 through our FixNICS initiative to encourage states to report all appropriate adjudicated mental health records to NICS and has succeeded in getting legislation passed in more than a dozen states. We welcome the administration’s attention to this issue.
  • With regard to the development of “smart-gun” technology, the industry has never opposed its development. How additional government research into this technology would advance it is unclear. Law enforcement agencies and consumers themselves will have to make the determination whether acquisition of firearms with this technology “would be consistent with operational needs,” as the White House itself states. We would continue to oppose mandates for this technology, particularly since there are well proven existing methods to secure firearms, and firearms accidents are at historic low levels.

NSSF will have additional responses in the days, weeks and months ahead, especially as federal departments and agencies begin the work of carrying out the executive orders.

The National Rifle Association has also responded.

The executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, Chris W. Cox, released the following statement on Tuesday regarding President Barack Obama’s Executive Gun Control Order:

Once again, President Obama has chosen to engage in political rhetoric, instead of offering meaningful solutions to our nation’s pressing problems.  Today’s event also represents an ongoing attempt to distract attention away from his lack of a coherent strategy to keep the American people safe from terrorist attack.

The American people do not need more emotional, condescending lectures that are completely devoid of facts. The men and women of the National Rifle Association take a back seat to no one when it comes to keeping our communities safe.  But the fact is that President Obama’s proposals would not have prevented any of the horrific events he mentioned.  The timing of this announcement, in the eighth and final year of his presidency, demonstrates not only political exploitation but a fundamental lack of seriousness.

The proposed executive actions are ripe for abuse by the Obama Administration, which has made no secret of its contempt for the Second Amendment.  The NRA will continue to fight to protect the fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms as guaranteed under our Constitution.  We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be harassed or intimidated for engaging in lawful, constitutionally-protected activity – nor will we allow them to become scapegoats for President Obama’s failed policies.