How ironic that the biggest gun control advocates have their mutual funds heavily invested in Americas largest gun and ammo manufactures; Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger & Co., and ammunition maker, Vista Outdoor Inc.
Obama is among millions of Americans buying into gun companies via their mutual funds which have increased their 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.
Reuters reported that means the stocks are now common in retirement and college savings plans for the Liberals that oppose them.
The influx has helped to boost both companies’ shares by more than 750 percent during Obama’s presidency; each now has a market value of about $1 billion. Obama has disclosed between $50,000 and $100,000 in the plan.
Not surprising that the White House declined to comment on Obama’s holdings in the Illinois General Assembly’s pension plan, which he earned while serving in that state’s senate.
Other investors in firearms companies include advocates for gun regulation in the U.S. Congress and several parents of children who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut – site of the 2012 massacre of 20 students and six staff members.
Fund managers are drawn to the stocks by surging sales. Buyers are arming themselves, analysts said, in response to mass shootings and calls for tougher gun laws.
By the end of 2015, more than 150 mutual funds owned Smith & Wesson shares, up from 53 at the end of 2008, and nearly 130 held stock in Ruger, up from 52, according to data from Morningstar Inc.
It would have taken investors “minimal due diligence” to see massive profit potential in Ruger stock when Obama was first elected, said Ruger Chief Executive Mike Fifer.
Shares hit a low of $4.50 the Friday after that Tuesday election; the stock was changing hands today at $61.61.
“Orders at every level of the distribution channel exploded” the week of Obama’s election, Fifer recalled. “And continued to do so for months afterward.”
Obama isn’t the only gun-grabbing regulation advocate with gun-industry holdings.
Former congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy – elected after her husband was killed in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road shooting – pushed relentlessly for gun safety legislation. While in office, she held shares worth between $3,003 and $45,000 in at least three exchange-traded funds with stakes in gun and ammo companies, according to her last financial disclosure before retiring last year. She also invested between $2,002 and $30,000 for two grandchildren in so-called 529 college-savings plans that include a Vanguard fund holding firearms stocks, disclosures show.
McCarthy (D-NY) is the author of a House bill on background checks (Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images)
The New York Democrat could not be reached for comment.
As a federal retirement benefit, members of the U.S. Congress can participate in a Thrift Savings Plan, which offers an investment option – the S Fund – that holds stock in firearms companies.
Financial disclosures show that S Fund investors include Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Senate Democrat and a leading advocate for stricter background checks for gun buyers. Durbin disclosed an S Fund investment of about $115,000.
President Obama and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) laugh as they get off Air Force One (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Durbin’s office declined to comment.
Some members of Congress welcome the investment option.
“I’m just grateful the fund managers are investing in something that’s making money,” said Representative Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican who opposes gun restrictions and has a small investment in the S fund.
For all the debate, Obama has made no progress in passing tougher gun laws. Measures such as universal background checks have withered in Congress, where the number of anti-gun control Republicans has grown.
Calls for tighter controls have been met with bursts of gun sales, according to U.S. background-check data on gun purchasers. Gun store owners attribute the extra sales to consumers who fear the president will make it harder to buy arms.
“Let’s just say he’s been good for business,” Jack Lesher, manager of Chuck’s Firearms in Atlanta, said of Obama.
Gun sales jumped again recently after Obama blasted congressional inaction on gun control and vowed to use executive powers to expand background checks for buyers and bolster licensing requirements for dealers. His announcement followed yet another mass shooting, on Dec. 2 in San Bernardino, California, where a couple pledging allegiance to Islamic State killed 14 people.