Salon – After Adam Lanza shot dead 20 children in a Connecticut primary school with his mother’s Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, public discourse turned swiftly to the well-hashed gun control debate. Legislation was proposed, teacher gun-training groups launched, Bushmasters flew off shelves in fear of an impending ban. Meanwhile, the markets were moving.
Arms manufacturers Smith & Wesson, Cabela’s and Big 5 all boasted sterling third quarter results in the post-Sandy Hook gun boom. A number of big retail chains moved to end sales of AR-15s and similar assault weapons in the wake of the shooting and Cerberus Capital, the New York firm that owned Bushmaster, sold the company, calling the Connecticut shooting a “watershed event.” But a small number of hedge funds, accustomed to a sadly familiar pattern (gun massacre, leads to fear of gun bans, leads to mass gun sales), moved to make bank on the tragedy and this predictable trajectory.