Smith & Wesson gun sales hit record $588M

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The last year has been bad for gun violence, but good for Smith & Wesson.

The gun maker reported preliminary results showing sales for the fiscal year, ending April 30, hit a record $588 million, a 43 percent increase versus the year before.

The gun industry saw a spike in demand from consumers who were afraid their gun rights would limited during the national gun debate.

"Probably December, the end of December, they've been steadily going up," said Casey Cummings, of St. Nicholas Gun and Sporting Goods.

The trend began with President Barack Obama's reelection and accelerated in the months after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in December in Newtown, Conn.

The U.S. Senate failed to pass gun control legislation in April that would have expanded background checks and banned some semiautomatic weapons.

"People died for that right to have guns, and I think we'll continue to have guns and there will always be people against it," Cummings said.

One other noticeable spike is the price of bullets.

"We pay a little bit more for the bullets now, but it's mainly a supply and demand type deal," Cummings said.

Smith & Wesson's preliminary figures show sales in its most recent quarter rose 38 percent versus a year before to $179 million -- earnings up from 40 cents a share in the prior fiscal year.

Both figures came in slightly ahead of analyst expectations. Smith & Wesson shares rose 5.3 percent in after-hours trading.

"A lot of times we go weeks without the gun and we have customers that have already prepaid for the gun, so when it comes in it doesn't even hit the shelves," Cummings said.

Smith & Wesson guns are not for hunting. They're either guns used at a shooting range or a gun one would carry for protection.

So why is the brand so popular?

"They are a classic name in the gun industry," Cummings said. "It's got a lifetime warranty and are reasonably priced, too."

Cummings says the store's sales have been up 200 percent compared to last year and that although its only halfway through the year, numbers indicate more people are buying guns.

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