Almost two months ago I wrote about the strong earnings profile and prospects of ShotSpotter (SSTI), a gunfire detection and location technology company. At the time, I noted that President Trump’s threat of “fire and fury” aimed at North Korea seemed to drown out the news. Today, in the wake of a horrible tragedy of fire and fury in Las Vegas where a lone gunman killed 58 and wounded 530 people attending a country music concert, SSTI soared 18.3% to a new all-time high.
Note well that the rally in SSTI began before the shooting. More importantly, the big gain today came on breaking news from Congress: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) announced that he will shelve indefinitely a bill backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) designed to roll back restrictions on gun silencers. I was not aware of this bill when I wrote about SSTI. The bill’s potential to pass can help explain why the stock had almost no upward momentum. Silencers all but neutralize SSTI’s technology that relies on loud sound profiles to identify the location of a gunshot.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) provided a quote that could have come from an SSTI press release thanking Congress for its change of heart:
“‘One of the few ways the police had to go after this shooter was they could look for the sound, try to hear the sound of where the guns came from,’ Schumer said on the Senate floor. ‘Thank God our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have pulled back on this bill.'”
This same bill was postponed temporarily back in June after a shooting at a Congressional baseball practice that injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R) and others. Scalise just returned to work last week after an extended recovery process.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) October 3, 2017
The short interest in SSTI is only 4.0%, so I highly doubt this rally has much to do with short-covering. Instead, I consider the rally in SSTI as representative of a heightened profile over the need for, and availability of, more effective tools for establishing gun safety and fighting gun-related crime.
More than ever, be careful out there!
Full disclosure: long SSTI