Gunmakers see a 30% increase in sales

(AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

NEW YORK (CNN) – Smith and Wesson and Sturm Ruger are raking in the money. A year after the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut claimed the lives of 20 school children, Americans fearful for their rights are buying guns in droves.

It’s been a good year for Smith and Wesson and Sturm Ruger as more and more Americans buy guns. At Smith and Wesson, sales over the past three months rose 7%. The reason? A surge in handgun sales.

Smith and Wesson’s strategy of pushing hard into the polymer pistol category is paying off. Those are small, lightweight guns that can fit in a pocket or purse.

Over at Sturm Ruger, quarterly sales jumped 28%. Sturm Ruger is doing so well that it recently built a new rifle factory in North Carolina.

However, Americans are divided. Some are more worried about gun safety, after the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, and are lobbying for tougher laws. While other people are worried about their right to bear arms being taken away, and are buying more guns.

No doubt about it, emotion is a big factor. Just look at the number of background checks the FBI has done. They’re the best indicator of gun sales and the number of checks surged at the end of 2012, immediately following two major events, the re-election of President Obama and the Newtown shootings. Obama is in favor of more firearm regulation.

There were 21 million background checks last year, compared to 12 million five years before. However, the emotional buying is tapering off a bit this year, especially after the president failed to get a gun bill through congress.

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