HOTAIR — February 6, 2016 by Ed Morrissey Looking for a hot investment? How about the Second Amendment? Thanks to Barack Obama, gun sales have gone through the roof, and so have shares in firearms manufacturers. Institutional investors have noticed, and stocks in firms like Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson have become part of widely held investment funds and retirement portfolios. Reuters reports that many people may be “unwitting” beneficiaries of this boom, including the man many credit for it:
Barack Obama might seem an unlikely investor in the firearms industry. But the U.S. president, a fierce advocate for gun regulation, has money in a pension fund that holds stock in gun and ammunition companies.
Although Obama’s stake is minuscule, worth no more than $30, it reflects a much larger surge of investment.
The president is among millions of Americans buying into gun companies – often unwittingly – as mutual funds have increased such holdings to record levels, according to a Reuters analysis of institutional investment in firearms companies.
Since Obama was elected in 2009, mutual funds have raised their stakes to about $510 million from $30 million in the nation’s two largest gun manufacturers with publicly traded shares, Smith & Wesson Corp and Sturm, Ruger & Co. That means such stocks are now common in retirement and college savings plans.
The influx has helped to boost both companies’ shares by more than 750 percent during the Obama presidency; each now has a market value of about $1 billion.
The way Reuters frames this is rather tiresome and paternalistic. Retirees may be “unwitting” investors in the firearms industry in exactly the same manner they might be “unwitting” investors in Reuters, TimeWarner, or Disney. They could also be “unwitting” investors in cattle ranching, pesticide manufacturers, automakers, the airlines, or Chuck E. Cheese. Firearms manufacturing is perfectly legal, not some kind of criminal enterprise. Investors — including retirees — get into funds to grow their wealth, not as a social statement. Those who get very particular about their investments and financial affiliations can manage their own money and pick their own stocks rather than buy into the larger investment funds.