Gun stocks rally every time a mass shooting occurs. Every. Single. Time. Per Bloomberg on this agonizingly familiar morning:
The grim predictability of stock-market reactions to U.S. mass shootings—where before a final tally of casualties can be reached, shares of gun makers rise—continued Monday in the wake of a Las Vegas attack that killed at least 50 and wounded hundreds more.
Historically, gun stocks have experienced a bump after a mass shooting for reasons both political and emotional. Gun sales typically rise over concerns that a deadly event could lead to more stringent gun-control legislation. An additional driver of sales, and by extension shares, is the rush by some consumers to purchase guns to defend against future attacks.
The gun manufacturers don’t even deny this fact. Per American Outdoor Brands’ annual report:
Concerns about presidential, congressional, and state elections and legislature and policy shifts resulting from those elections can affect the demand for our products. In addition, speculation surrounding increased gun control at the federal, state, and local level and heightened fears of terrorism and crime can affect consumer demand.
American Outdoor Brands gave $1 million to the NRA this past quarter. As of this writing, their stock is up 3.74% today, which translates to an extra $30 million or so added to their market cap. It’s no secret that the NRA spends night and day lobbying against any and all restrictions on guns—so if it isn’t patently obvious what’s going on, pay closer attention.
Gun companies know that any regulation equals less sales. They also know that fear of regulation and fear of attacks increase sales and market speculation. Therefore, an environment filled with fear of deadly attacks and regulation—but with far more deadly attacks than regulation—is ideal for gun sales in America. This was demonstrated during the Obama Administration, as the gun manufacturers published a report in 2016 stating that the industry grew 158% from 2008. When Trump became president, American Outdoor Brands saw their stock fall by double digits. The dynamic at play here is very clear. Gun manufacturers know that only one party has the potential to hold them somewhat accountable for their blood money.
So keep that in mind when NRA-branded spokespeople take their ceremonial laps around cable news to say that our most recent mass shooting is not the time to talk about gun control.
The next time something horrible like this happens (and it will), many of those donating to the NRA will see their net worth rise in tandem with the body count. America’s gun manufacturers prove that we can, and do, put a price on human life.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.