Ridgeland, MS, FEB 04, 2008 (EventX/Knobias.com via COMTEX) -- COMMENTARY: The gun issue is flying under the radar now. Democrats learned their lesson well in 1994, don't talk guns during an election campaign. However, once the election is over, whoever occupies the White House is likely to lead a charge to end "gun show loopholes". Senator John McCain co-sponsored such legislation with Senator Lieberman, but it failed to pass. What's more, one of the chief outcomes of the McCain/Feingold bill is that it served to muzzle the once potent NRA during the 60 days before the November election. If a Democrat is elected, expect a resurrection of the Clinton-era "assault weapons" ban. History says this prospect is likely to encourage a run on the gun store after election day, if not before. In 1993, the last time legislation threatened to restrict gun sales, gun dealers saw their sales soar. For Sturm Ruger (RGR), sales jumped 27% in 1993 and remained elevated through the following year. When the House and Senate changed hands in 1995, gun sales slumped 13.6%. The industry depends on the discretionary consumer dollar, and it needs a pick-me-up. Shares of Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Sturm Ruger (RGR) have tumbled 78% and 53% from the October highs.
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