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Gun makers' shares rise on strong demand

(Reuters) - Gun maker Sturm Ruger & Co Inc's shares rose to a life-high on Thursday, after the company said demand was rising so fast that it was suspending new orders until May.

Sturm Ruger said on Wednesday that it has received orders for more than one million guns for the first quarter and it could not keep up with demand despite increased production.

The spike in demand comes in an election year when fears of gun control regulations resurface.

In 2009, gun sales had shot up after Barack Obama won the U.S. presidential elections and firearm enthusiasts rushed to stores, fearing he would tighten gun control.

This year, the United States votes for president on November 6.

Shares of rival Smith & Wesson Holding Corp also jumped 16 percent on Thursday, as the company is expected to gain market share from Sturm Ruger's suspension of orders.

Sturm Ruger stock was trading up 12 percent at $47.59 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Smith & Wesson shares, which have more than doubled in value since its announcement of the security business divestiture in October, rose to a 52-week high of $7.75 on Thursday on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Chris Jonathan Peters in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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