Correction appended, June 15
In the aftermath of a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub that left at least 50 people dead, shares of gun manufacturers have soared.
Shares of Connecticut-based manufacturer Sturm Ruger & Co. climbed by nearly 10% to $62.91 per share between market close on Friday and 12:15 p.m. Monday. As of the same time, shares of Massachusetts gun maker Smith & Wesson had increased by about 8% to $23.12 per share.
Firearm stocks tend to increase in the wake of a mass shooting, as investors anticipate that stricter gun-control laws are imminent and gun enthusiasts rush to buy firearms before any new measures take effect. Gun sales also rose in January after President Barack Obama promised to use executive powers to expand background checks for buyers and increase licensing requirements for dealers, Bloomberg reported. The mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. that left 14 people dead also led to higher gun stock prices.
Activity on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS), which is used to vet consumer firearm purchases, serves as an indicator for firearm demand. It’s jumped by more than 25% between January and March of this year, a period that included the San Bernardino, Calif. shooting and coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris. Prior to the Orlando shooting, gun sales according to the NCIS had declined during the month of May.
In the three years since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. that left 26 people dead, the country’s four largest gun manufacturers have raked in more than $632 million in profits, according to the New York Daily News. Profits at Sturm Ruger, based just 22 miles from Newtown, rose from $70.6 million to $111.7 million. At Smith & Wesson, profits soared from $16.1 million to $78.7 million.
Sunday’s early morning shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, was the largest massacre in U.S. history, killing at least 50 people and injuring 53 more. The shooter, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old resident of Port Lucie, Fla., was armed with an assault rifle similar to the popular AR-15. He claimed loyalty to ISIS as motivation for his rampage at the club’s gay pride celebration.
Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described the gun used in the Orlando shooting. It was a Sig Sauer MCX, a semiautomatic assault style rifle that is similar in appearance and capabilities to the better-known AR-15.