by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
One of the country’s leading gun makers saw earnings triple as gun sales once again shattered previous records for the month of July.
July 2020 saw an estimated 1,795,602 gun sales—a new record and an increase of 133 percent over July 2019, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis of FBI data. July is the fifth consecutive month to set a gun-sales record. Chris Killoy, chief executive officer of Sturm, Ruger & Company, said the current spike in sales is unlike anything he has ever seen. The buying spree shows no signs of slowing down and heavy demand will “sustain itself” into the fall, Killoy predicted.
“Having been in this industry for 30 years, I saw the surge in 1994 before the assault weapons ban took place,” Killoy told investors on Thursday. “This is probably the strongest level of demand that I’ve seen. One of the most significant differences is how it has impacted all levels of the channel and the impact on inventory at all levels.”
The spike in FBI background checks and coinciding earnings at the gun-industry giant indicate an explosion of new gun ownership as Americans deal with the coronavirus outbreak and national unrest. FBI background checks indicate 2020 has now seen at least 10 million guns sold—many to first-time buyers and minorities.
Sturm, Ruger & Company announced in its quarterly earnings call on Thursday that net sales had moved from $210,367,000 in the first six months of 2019 to $253,903,000 during the same period in 2020. That equated to diluted earnings per share of $1.06 in 2020 compared with $.36 in 2019—a threefold increase.
Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. reported a similar profit jump in June. Net sales for the company jumped 32.9 percent from $175.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 to $233.6 million in 2020. …
… Killoy said the surge in sales reflected Americans’ concerns over current events.