September 6, 2011
Rick Perry’s emergence as the front runner for the Republican Presidential nomination would seem like a coup for the gun industry. The Texas governor’s enthusiasm for firearms rivals Yosemite Sam’s. He has an A+ rating from the Texas State Rifle Association and packs a laser-sighted Ruger pistol when he jogs. Last year, he famously shot a coyote that threatened his dog during a run. To commemorate his act of valor, the manufacturer, Sturm, Ruger & Co., produced a lightweight, limited-edition “Coyote Special” with the words “A True Texan” emblazoned on the barrel. Collectors snapped them up. Perry would be as ardent a champion of gun rights as has ever occupied the White House.
And yet he still may not do as much for the industry as Barack Obama already has. In the time since he took office, gun sales have soared. The government doesn’t track individual sales. But the FBI criminal background check required to purchase a gun is considered a reasonable proxy, and these have hit record numbers each year Obama has been in office. This year, they’re on track to surpass 15 million for the first time.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Ruger has done especially well. Since Obama’s inauguration the company’s stock price has risen more than 400 percent, making it a better investment than gold, which is up 113 percent. “They’ve been outstanding in offering new products, especially in the concealable handgun segment,” says Jim Barrett, an analyst at CL King who tracks the gun industry and rates the company a “strong buy.”
Analysts anticipated a brief jump in firearm sales after the election as many gun owners, fearful that a new Democratic President would move to ban assault weapons, fortified their home arsenals. “Initially, what spiked were the tactical rifles, the stuff Rambo might use,” says Barrett. As a result, 2009 was “a blockbuster year.”