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Forget stocks and bonds, the real money's in guns.
The Wall Street Journal reports artillery enthusiasts are stocking up on guns and ammo, not necessarily ahead of widespread civil unrest resulting from our ongoing economic swoon, but as an investment. These trigger-happy speculators are betting President Obama will institute a ban on assault rifles, which would crimp supply and send prices, well, shooting up.
For it's part, the Obama administration says it has no plans to enact such legislation and supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
During the federal ban on semiautomatic weapons from 1994-2004, prices soared. Recent buying has reached almost a frenzied pitch, creating backlogs for popular models and enabling resellers to list certain guns well above suggested retail prices. AK-47s doubled in price between September 2008 and the end of last year.
Ammo, as well, has become a hot commodity. As one supplier said, "(Ammunition) beats the hell out of money markets and CDs. You can double your investment in ammunition in a year."
Equity investors, too, are betting on Americans arming themselves to the teeth. Smith & Wesson (SWHC), maker of Dirty Harry's weapon of choice -- the .44 Magnum -- has seen its stock jump from around $2 per share to over $6 since Inauguration Day. Still, shares are off around 70% from highs seen as recently as late 2007. Sturm Ruger (RGR), another gun manufacturer, has seen a rise of almost 100% in 2009.