Profits are up again for two major American gun companies.
Ruger and Winchester both reported profit spikes in recent earnings filings. Their latest 2021 quarters topped record sales the companies had experienced even during the height of the 2020 gun sales surge. The numbers come after July 2021 came in as the second-best July on record for FBI background checks on gun sales.
Ruger reported on Wednesday its net sales in the first six months of 2021 were up over $130 million or 51 percent over the same time last year. The company did nearly $200 million in firearms sales alone between April and June. That represents a 54 percent increase over the same period in 2020, even though the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and rioting drove Americans to gun stores at record rates during that time period.
Gross profits increased 96 percent over the April to June timeframe. They were up 98 percent in the January to June period.
Similarly, Winchester reported the first six months of 2021 produced a $412 million or 108 percent increase in sales. The gun and ammo maker’s sales increased even further, by 110 percent, when looking at the April to June period. Winchester’s parent company, Olin Corporation, saw net income climb from a $120 million loss in the April to June period of 2020 to a $355 million profit in 2021. They went from a $220 million loss in the January to June 2020 period to a $599 million profit in 2021.
The numbers indicate gun sales are not slowing, and demand remains very strong for guns and ammunition. Though FBI background check numbers have backed off their all-time peaks, they remain significantly elevated over their pre-2020 levels. Sales even appear to have accelerated in July despite seasonal trends usually see gun sales fade during the summer months.
The rising profits and strong sales may be driven by continued uncertainty over the pandemic and President Joe Biden’s push to institute new restrictions on gun ownership through legislation and executive action. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry’s trade group, argued the president’s attempt to broaden the ATF’s power through new rulemaking while simultaneously attempting to make a paid gun-control activists head of the agency were key sales motivators.
“Factors that continue to drive sales are undeniably concerns for personal safety, along with overtures from the Biden administration to pursue a strict gun control agenda,” Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement. “Those measures include the proposed ban on brace-equipped AR pistols, the proposal to redefine frame or receiver and regulate out of existence the ability of law-abiding Americans to build their own firearms in the home for personal use and the nomination of David Chipman to be director of the ATF, a gun control lobbyist who advocates for banning the Modern Sporting Rifle.”
Oliva said manufacturers are working to meet demand but are still seeing strong signs Americans continue to want more guns.
“To date, more than 11 million background checks have been completed for the sale of a gun,” he said. “Firearm manufacturers continue serving a market that is on a 16-month-long streak of elevated sales. Manufacturers have been meeting this demand, but it is clear that customer demand has yet to be satisfied.”
Ruger said in its earnings report that it has continually ramped up production for over a year. However, it still can’t restock its dealer inventory because demand continues to outstrip supply.
“The dedication and commitment of our over 1,900 hardworking employees resulted in our seventh consecutive quarterly increase in production,” Christopher J. Killoy, Ruger CEO, said in the report, “and the continued reduced level of Ruger inventory at the independent distributors and in our warehouses is indicative of strong consumer demand for our firearms.”