Gun maker Smith & Wesson Holdings Corp. said its fiscal third-quarter earnings more than tripled from the previous year as Americans hurried to purchase firearms amid wrangling by lawmakers around the country over stricter weapons laws.
Covering the three months ended Jan. 31, the results span a period in which a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that left 20 children dead elevated the national conversation on firearm restrictions.
In response, some gun advocates have rushed to buy firearms in anticipation of tighter laws controlling the sale of guns and ammunition. Many firearms makers, including Smith & Wesson, have reported a surge in sales in the last few months.
The Springfield, Mass., company reported a profit of $14.6 million, or 22 cents a share, a 228% increase from the $4.4 million, or 7 cents a share, it earned in the same period a year earlier. Sales rose 38.8% to $136.2 million, from the earlier period.
"Performance gains were driven by continued robust consumer demand for firearms," Chief Executive James Debney said in a statement.
Smith & Wesson also raised its earnings guidance for its 2013 fiscal year. It forecasted total sales between $575.0 million and $580.0 million, a significant jump from the year before.
Despite the big gains, investor worries that the company’s future may be hampered by tighter gun-control laws sent shares down 57 cents, or 5.6%, to $9.65 in midday trading.
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