With each mass shooting in the United States, a pattern repeats itself: people die as a result of gun violence, and the share prices of gun manufacturers rise. Last night’s shooting in Las Vegas—now billed as the deadliest in US history—is no exception.
At one point after markets opened on Monday, Oct. 2, the day after the shooting, American Outdoor Brands (formerly Smith & Wesson) was up 8%, Sturm Ruger 6%, and Vista Outdoor 3%. The broader market is up slightly on the day.
Gun stocks rise when investors anticipate that mass shootings will lead to tougher gun laws. In a well-known paradox of American politics, the industry has languished after the election of the pro-gun, National Rifle Association-endorsed Donald Trump, whereas it thrived under the Obama administration as people stocked up on guns fearing tighter regulations. Even after today’s gains, major gun stocks are down since Trump’s election.
Also down is the stock of MGM Resorts, owner of the Mandalay Bay hotel, from where the gunman shot into a crowd gathered at a country music concert. The company’s shares fell sharply in early trading today.