Gun Companies Do Not Want to Tell What They Sell

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There is nothing wrong with making and marketing guns, if people kill people, and guns do not. One of the odd things about firms that sell guns, however, is that they do not want people to know which guns they sell. In a sense, these companies are gun-shy, probably because of the long-term backlash against certain weapons.

The Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE: RGR) 10-Q tells several things. Its sales were up from $80.5 million in the third quarter of 2011 to $118.2 million in the most recent quarter. Net income rose from $10.7 million to $17.3 million. It is a good business.

However, there is a mystery about which models Sturm, Ruger & Co. sells and in what quantities. The company discloses almost everything else an outsider might want to know about itself.

Sales outside the United States were only 3% of the total in the third quarter. Maybe it is hard to get permission to ship guns overseas. Ninety-nine percent of what the company sells is guns. Sturm, Ruger & Co. is a gun company. Inventories are valued using the last-in, first-out (LIFO) method. But what is in those inventories?

Sturm, Ruger & Co. has good employee benefits, according to its 10-Q. It continues to return money to shareholders through a cash dividend of $0.377 per share.

Sturm, Ruger & Co., is an innovator, or so its claims.

New product introductions in the first nine months of 2012 included the 10/22 TakeDown rifle, the Ruger American Rifle, the SR22 pistol, the 22/45 Lite pistol, and the Single-Nine revolver. New products represented $130.3 million or 38% of firearm sales in the first nine months of 2012.

The firm does not say how many of any of those new products it sold. Sturm, Ruger & Co. reports that it had 318,300 units ordered in the past quarter. It does not break those down by product, though. It shipped 425,000 units in the same period.

Once again, there is nothing wrong with selling guns legally, but it is odd that gun companies do not want outsiders to know precisely what they sell.