It's a well-oiled American machine: A mass shooting is followed by a stock-market rally of the two publicly traded gunsmiths. Morbid as it may be, the response has mostly been rational. Citizens, worried for their safety and the imposition of more stringent ownership rules, stockpile guns.
The phenomenon just repeated itself with the murder of 49 innocent people in an Orlando nightclub by an AR-15-wielding madman citing Islamic State as inspiration. Shares of Smith & Wesson, the maker of a handgun that People magazine says belonged to the shooter, gained nearly 7 percent on Monday. Sturm Ruger's were up nearly 9 percent.
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The fear factor has been in evidence before. In the two months after the slaughter of 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the number of National Instant Criminal Background Check System inquiries — a proxy for new gun sales — increased by 63 percent, to 5.3 million, from the same two months the year before.