Shares of gunmakers have been rising sharply due to the coronavirus pandemic, and though Sturm, Ruger's (NYSE:RGR) stock already doubled in value since the outbreak, one analyst thinks there is a lot more room to run.

Lake Street analyst Mark Smith raised his price target on the gunsmith to $80 a share from $68, the highest yet of any Wall Street analyst, after the FBI reported strong criminal background check numbers in May.

Woman receiving firearms instruction

Image source: Getty Images.

Shooting out the lights

According to the federal law enforcement agency, there were nearly 3.1 million checks performed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the most for the month of May since the agency started tracking such data in 1998.

Because FBI data includes some duplicates, such as states checking in every month on the eligibility of concealed carry permit holders, the National Shooting Sports Foundation adjusts those figures to account for double-counting. Even so, background checks were up 75% in May compared to last year.

As one of the biggest gunmakers in the country, Sturm, Ruger is likely to continue rising as consumers seek to protect themselves in the wake of protests and riots breaking out in major cities around the country. Firearms sales jumped 9% in the first quarter to $123.6 million as sell-through from distributors to retailers surged 37% in the period.

Shares of Sturm, Ruger are up 5.5% in midday trading today following a 9% gain yesterday.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.