COVID winners: Sturm Ruger posts record-breaking profits


The very last thing we need is more guns in circulation:

Another sharp increase in demand for firearms amid the COVID-19 pandemic and national political tension enabled Sturm, Ruger & Co. to post Wednesday a nearly fivefold hike in third-quarter net income to $24.75 million. The report was a near repeat of Ruger's second-quarter performance, which yielded a threefold profit hike to $18.6 million.

By comparison, net income a year ago was $4.82 million. The third-quarter 2020 profit was offset somewhat by Ruger paying $8.1 million in income taxes, up from $1.5 million a year ago.

That's nearly a six-fold increase in gun sales in one year. This likely has more to do with the social unrest attributed to police killings of black people than the virus itself, but don't write off the quarantine mentality completely. Curbing social interaction has a psychological toll we simply can't predict, but it's definitely not good. We talk about mass shootings in schools and other public venues as the major threat to American children. But 3 out of 4 of them are killed at home:

Three out of four U.S. children and teenagers killed in mass shootings over the past decade were victims of domestic violence and generally died in their homes, according to a study released on Thursday by the gun control group Everytown.

While the specter of school shootings looms darkly in the minds of American parents who remember massacres in Newtown, Connecticut; Parkland, Florida, and around the country, the group’s review of shootings from 2009 through 2018 found that far more children were killed in their own homes.

“These are not random acts of violence, yet people have the perception that the killings come out of nowhere,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps, Everytown’s research director. “That is simply not the truth.”

The Everytown report, based on police and court records as well as media reports, found that 54% of mass shootings involved the shooter killing a family member or an intimate partner.

And those stats were pre-COVID, before families were pretty much confined in close quarters for months. Over half of women killed in homicides were snuffed out by current (or former) intimate male partners:

Roughly half of the female homicide victims each year — 3,268 in 2018 — are killed by a former or current male partner, federal data showed. Available data for male victims showed nearly 5% were killed by an intimate partner.

The N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which tracks the state’s domestic violence homicides, reported that 53 people were killed in 2019, including four people in Durham County, two in Wake County and one in Orange County. While the same number of people were killed in 2018, the coalition reported an increasing number of homicides — averaging 77 — each year between 2013 and 2017.

The numbers include homicides involving both same-sex and opposite-sex intimate partners, but not domestic violence between non-intimate family members.

More than 32,600 N.C. residents sought protective orders in 2018, according to the state Administrative Office of the Courts.

Judges awarded protective orders — also called 50B orders in North Carolina — to 33% of the men and women who sought them last year, data showed, while another 23% voluntarily dropped their protective order petitions. The rest of the petitions were denied or involuntarily dismissed because the person seeking the order didn’t show up for the hearing.

Those increased gun sales take on a whole new meaning when you delve into domestic violence statistics. Might be good for those who hold Sturm Ruger stocks, but the rest of us? Not so good.