Bill Alpert writes in The Wall Street Journal that, “Gun fanciers have loaded up on 15-round pistols and military-style rifles since the November election of a Democratic Congress and a president partial to gun control.

“The fear of a renewed federal ban on assault weapons has boosted the revenues and shares of gun makers Smith & Wesson Holding and Sturm, Ruger.

Southport, Conn.-based Ruger saw earnings quadruple in its fiscal first quarter from a year ago, rising to about $6 million, or 30 cents a share, on revenue of $64 million. Smith & Wesson’s earnings doubled in its fiscal fourth quarter, to $7.4 million, or 14 cents a share. The Springfield, Mass., company’s revenue was up 20% to $100 million.

“On this rush of business, investors bid up shares of Ruger to as high as $13.71, from $6.50 before the election, while Smith & Wesson stock has risen to more than $7.50, from a pre-election $1.60.

“But now the gun industry’s leading indicator — the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s monthly count of the instant background checks it runs for gun dealers — is settling back toward pre-election levels. While November background checks were 42% above the year-earlier level, May’s were up just 15%.”

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