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Smith & Wesson, one of the country’s biggest gunmakers, has announced it will increase production to meet demand as firearms sales have grown significantly by 140 percent year-over-year.
The company’s announcement comes after a record-breaking first quarter, and sales have only increased since, likely at least in part due to a surge in violence and rioting in major cities around the country.
The firearms maker, one of just two publicly traded gun makers in the country, reported the dramatic rise in sales between the beginning of May through the end of July.
In that timeframe, the company sold or moved 584,000 guns, which is an unprecedented demand that led to declines in inventories around the country.
As such, the company’s executives have committed to doubling down on production output by adding workers and additional shifts so demand can be met, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“As we’ve seen before during these surge periods, these results reflect that despite our record numbers in market share growth, consumer demand for our products during the quarter still exceeded our internal manufacturing capacity levels, ” Mark Smith, Smith & Wesson president and CEO, told investors in during a Thursday call. “We’re continuing to ramp up…. We’re going to go to maximum capacity.”
The company’s decision to bolster production comes as gun sales for all makes and models have dramatically increased in a violence-filled year following the George Floyd incident in May.
The lingering coronavirus pandemic and associated economic hardships, coupled with November elections which could be marred by mail-in voting delays and irregularities are only increasing the tension.
For instance, more guns have been sold during the first eight months of 2020 than in all of 2019, the Free Beacon noted.
During his call, Smith’s remarks resembled those by the CEO of the other publicly-traded company, Sturm, Ruger & Co., in July, who said demand now is far and away higher than at any previous time he has seen.
“When we get into these surge environments like this, and as you can see from the [gun background check numbers] we’ve never seen one quite this high, the demand in the industry just outstrips the industry’s ability to supply,” Smith noted. “And we’re no different. You can look at the inventory numbers from us and from some of the other firearms, retailers, and manufacturers, and I think we’re just out of inventory.”
National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesman Mark Oliva praised Smith & Wesson’s decision, describing it as a “significant move” reflecting the belief that gunmakers think sales will only continue to rise.
“It’s a demand issue,” he said. “It’s not a supply issue. Materials are there, the labor force is there, but before [a] manufacturer is going to invest in hiring more people, adding another shift, buying more machinery, they want to be sure.
“I mean, that’s a very costly thing to do. And nobody wants to lay people off when things go down and eventually this will settle out. The question is where will it settle out and when?” Oliva noted further.
In many respects, Democrats and their Left-wing allies in the media have been the nation’s best gun salespeople. Their embrace of the violence in cities being committed by Antifa and Black Lives Matter militants, along with calls for more violence, are very likely helping to drive sales.
As for Smith & Wesson, despite adding workers and shifts, Smith said only so much could be done to meet demand.
“There does come a point, though, where there’s only so much we can do and whether that’s going to meet the demand or not,” he said. “I guess we’ll see.”
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