12/17/2012 01:31 pm ET Updated Dec 17, 2012

Stock Market Punishes Gun Makers After Newtown School Massacre

The stock market seems to have made up its mind about the future of U.S. gun control laws.

There are only two publicly traded gun makers, the stock prices of which have both tumbled since Friday, when 26 people were shot to death in Newtown, Conn., including 20 small children.

Recently, the consensus view in the market seemed to be that gun stocks were good bets. A Forbes column called guns a "growth market." That may have now changed after Friday's events. The stock price of Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc., was down 1.5 percent on Monday and has fallen nearly 6 percent since Friday. The price of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. was down nearly 4 percent on Monday and has lost more than 8 percent since Friday. Shares of gun-retailer Cabela's Inc. are down nearly 6 percent since Friday. (The maker of the Bushmaster rifle used in the killings is owned by private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.)

Even as gun ownership has declined in recent decades, control laws have become increasingly lax in recent years, as public support for stricter laws has wavered, despite shooting after shooting. That trend may have been abruptly reversed: Many gun control opponents have changed their views in recent days, and the National Rifle Association has been silent in light of the Newtown massacre.

If it's any indication, a user of the online betting platform Intrade on Monday suggested the site create a new market, "New U.S. Federal Law Restricting Guns by X Date." "Suject (sic) speaks for itself," the user wrote. We can only assume that the poster was referring to the fact that, on Friday, 26 people were shot to death in Newtown, Connecticut, including 20 small children.



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