Smith & Wesson, the largest gunmaker in the US, plans to change its 164-year-old name

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Smith & Wesson, America's largest gunmaker — founded before the Civil Warannounced Monday that its board has approved a new name: "American Outdoor Brands Corporation."

Shareholders will vote on the measure in December, and the name change, if approved, would go into effect at the start of 2017.

One signal the switch will be approved? The company's stock price was up more than 1.8% as of midday Tuesday.

"We believe the name 'American Outdoor Brands Corporation' will better reflect our family of brands," James Debney, Smith & Wesson CEO, said in the company's press release. "Looking forward, we intend to aggressively grow."

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Several people view a wall of Smith & Wesson handguns during the National Rifle Association convention Friday, April 13, 2007 in St. Louis. 

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

In this Jan. 19, 2016 file photo, handguns are displayed at the Smith & Wesson booth at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas. Nearly two-thirds of Americans expressed support for stricter gun laws, according to an Associated Press-GFK poll released Saturday, July 23, 2016. A majority of poll respondents oppose banning handguns.

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

22 caliber Smith and Wesson gun for speed shooting competitions.

(Marc Garanger via Getty Images)

A Smith & Wesson manufacturer display of AR-15 rifles is pictured during Summer Expo at H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City, Thursday, July 14, 2016. In a publicly released letter, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 123 asked the Oklahoma City Police Department to allow officers to carry personal rifles on duty and equip more officers with body armor for use in active-shooter situations.

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

This Wednesday, March 25, 2015 photo shows a Smith & Wesson .38 Special in Mountainside, N.J. The gun belonged to IRS investigator Michael Malone, the man who went undercover to infiltrate Al Capone's gang in the 1930s and eventually brought down the feared mobster.

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Smith and Wesson pistols are on display during the National Rifle Association's annual convention Friday, May 3, 2013 in Houston.

(AP Photo/Steve Ueckert)

A Smith and Wesson revolver, the personal weapon of a crew member of a RAF (Royal Air Force) Halifax bomber that was shot down over southern Poland in 1944 with its Canadian and British crew. The revolver was bent by the impact of the crash. The wreckage with items found in it was recently recovered from a muddy field by Polish historians and is waiting to be cleaned at a hangar in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday, Dec. 8, 2006.

(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Trade show attendees examine various hand guns in the Smith & Wesson display booth at the Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Tradeshow, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Las Vegas.

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

38 caliber Smith and Wesson gun for with double action.

(Marc Garanger via Getty Images)

Manager David Hancock holds a Smith & Wesson 500 handgun as he fills out paperwork for the purchase of the gun at the Bob Moates sport shop in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008.

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)


It's true that the gunmaker sells other products, and last week the company announced it was acquiring a company that makes survival and camping equipment. But a name change at this point would be more nominal than not: As Bloombergreported, 90% of Smith & Wesson sales come from firearms.

The company has denied that there is anything political about the timing of the announcement, despite the imminent conclusion to the 2016 presidential race.

Chris Krueger, an equity analyst at Minneapolis-based Lake Street Capital Markets who follows the firearms industry, agreed.

"Now the company has multiple brands in addition to the Smith & Wesson brand," he said in a phone interview with Mic. "The new name better reflects the company as a whole. The Board likely made this decision and went public with the meeting announcement without regard to what day it is."

But, as Financial Times U.S. editor Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson suggested in the tweet below, Smith & Wesson may have a lot to gain from distancing itself from the firearms industry.

Gun companies have historically seensurges in sales in the wake of major Democratic victories — the presumption being that a win for progressives signals impending gun control legislation.

A representative from Smith & Wesson did not respond to request for comment by press time.

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