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Ruger Reports 50% Sales Boost As Biden Plans More Gun Control

Sturm, Ruger
RGR
, a leading gun manufacturer, reported a 50% spike in quarterly sales and more than doubled its profit, continuing its frenetic sales surge during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sturm, Ruger, reported $183.60 million in net firearms sales for the quarter ended April 3, compared to $122.76 million in the year-ago quarter. The gunmaker also reported quarterly net income of $38.19 million, compared to $15.33 million in the year-ago quarter.  

“I could not be more proud of how well our folks rose to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and capitalized on the opportunities presented by the historic surge in demand during the past year,” said Chief Executive Officer Christopher J. Killoy, in a prepared statement.

The company, in its 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, identified several reasons for the rise in demand, including the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest, and the call from some politicians “for a reduction in funding and limitations on law enforcement activities.” This perception of lawlessness and anarchy has prompted many Americans to buy guns for self-protection.

Sturm, Ruger said demand was also being driven by “concern about possible legislation that could curtail or limit gun ownership rights by both state and Federal governments.”

The quarter was marked by accelerated gun sales industrywide during the administration of President Joseph Biden, a Democrat who plans to increase gun control measures, particularly versus assault weapons like the AR-556 produced by Sturm, Ruger. The specter of more restrictive gun control from the Biden administration has prompted many Americans to buy guns.

Sturm, Ruger, in its 10-Q filing, said that it was debt-free and “well-positioned to manage through this global crisis,” referring to the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it was providing cash incentives for employees to get vaccinated, and has provided extra paid time off while encouraging remote working when possible.

Sturm, Ruger makes a variety of guns, including military-style rifles that gun control advocates and federal regulators call assault weapons, though the industry prefers to call them modern sporting rifles. Sturm, Ruger makes semiautomatic versions of these guns for civilian consumers, including the AR-556 pistol that was allegedly used by a gunman to kill 10 people at a Boulder, Colorado grocery store in March. This was just days after another gunman allegedly killed eight people, including six of Asian descent, at spas in the Atlanta area.

President Biden has become increasingly vocal in his opposition to assault weapons and high capacity magazines, which have been used in multiple mass shootings. “Talk to most responsible gun owners and hunters – they’ll tell you there’s no possible justification for having a hundred rounds in a weapon,” said Biden, in his speech before Congress on April 28. “What do you think deer are wearing, Kevlar vests?”

At a White House press conference in April, President Biden announced that was implementing executive orders restricting arm stabilizers like the one allegedly used with the AR-556 in the Colorado mass shooting, and to require background checks for ghost guns.

Biden also reiterated his long-standing plans to crack down on assault weapons. At the Rose Garden press conference, he also talked about bringing back the assault weapon ban that expired in 2004. This is a bit different from the detailed gun control plan he unveiled during the presidential campaign, which called for a ban on assault weapon sales to civilian consumers. Under the campaign plan, existing owners would have to register their assault weapons under the National Firearms Act, requiring a months-long background check process and a $200 tax, or sell them to the government as part of a nationwide gun buyback program.

Either way, Biden has his sites set on assault weapons, which is helping to fuel gun sales for the short term, though this is based on the fear that the guns would eventually become unavailable.

Assault weapons are also produced by Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, Daniel Defense, Springfield Armory, Diamond Back, Noveske, and many other gun makers including Franklin Armory, which recently bought the Bushmaster brand from Remington as part of its bankruptcy filing process.

Gun sales have soared since the coronavirus pandemic swept through America in March 2020, flattening the economy and putting tens of millions of people out of work. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, background checks for gun purchases and other firearms-related actions totaled 15.96 million in the first four months of 2021. That’s a 26% increase from the same period in 2020, which was a record year for FBI background checks.

Americans have been buying guns and ammunition amid outbreaks of civil unrest, including the Capitol riots of Jan. 6, reports of rising crime in New York, Chicago and other cities, and instances of police brutality versus Black Americans, including the conviction in April of ex-cop Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

Americans are buying guns for self-protection, including the LCP line of compact semiautomatic pistols from Sturm, Ruger. These handguns are designed for concealed carry and are considered to be user-friendly for novice shooters. Compact handguns are also produced by Smith & Wesson, Glock, Taurus, Sig Sauer, and many others.

The gun industry group the National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that since the start of the pandemic, at least 8.4 million Americans have bought guns for the first time.

This has fueled unprecedented demand for guns and ammunition, creating inventory shortages for guns and especially ammunition as manufacturers contend with supply chain disruptions and shortages of raw materials.

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