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Smith & Wesson's quarterly earnings triple

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- Smith & Wesson Holding Corp.'s earnings more than tripled in the firearms maker's latest quarter as consumers scrambled to buy guns while U.S. lawmakers debated whether to impose a ban on some weapons.

The fiscal third-quarter results issued Tuesday covered the three months ending in January — a period that included a harrowing massacre in December at a Connecticut elementary school where 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman shooting a rifle similar to a military weapon.

The massacre prompted President Barack Obama to call for tougher gun-control laws, triggering a rush to buy more firearms.

Smith & Wesson, which is based in Springfield, Mass., earned $14.6 million, or 22 cents, per share, during the quarter. That compared with net income of $4.4 million, or 7 cents per share, at the same time last year.

Revenue rose 39 percent from last year to $136 million.

"Performance gains were driven by continued robust consumer demand for firearms," said Smith & Wesson CEO James Debney.

The showing was in line with analyst projections, but wasn't good enough to satisfy those worried that Smith & Wesson's future growth will slow if U.S. lawmakers crack down on gun sales.

Smith & Wesson's stock slipped 28 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $9.94 in extended trading. The stock stood at $9.54 before the Connecticut school shootings.