The oldest gun manufacturer in the US, Remington Outdoor Co., has filed for bankruptcy due to slumping sales. Established more than 200 years ago, the company’s significant sales-drop comes amidst demands for greater gun control in the US, as well as lawsuits stemming from the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Wall Street Journal reported.
.A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people in February 2018, has revived the debate on gun control, while hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of US cities. Some US retailers have raised the age limit for certain firearms purchases to 21 or stopped stocking semi-automatic weapons. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has proposed to ban bump stocks through regulations rather than wait for Congress to act, defying recommendations by federal law enforcement officials and subjecting the Justice Department to litigation from gun rights groups.
Is America's gun culture not as impregnable as it seemed? Does Remington’s bankruptcy indicate the likely demise of gun enthusiasm? Or, are Remington’s problems of its own making, including errors in financial statements and faulty products, leading to its fall more than outcry of gun protestors?
The bankruptcy filing reported that Remington officials planned to hand over the reins to its creditors in exchange for writing off most of the company's debt. Cerberus Capital Management LP bought Remington for $118 million in 2007, assuming $252 million in debt in the process. Cerberus later formed a holding company called the Freedom Group Inc., consisting of Remington and other firearms manufacturers -- including Bushmaster, which Cerberus had purchased in 2006.
On the consumer side, Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods have taken initiatives to eliminate sales of assault firearms. The FBI processed a record number of background checks on gun purchases during the election year in 2016, but the rate of background checks plunged following Trump's election. The slow and long path to reform gun laws might just have given way to yet another corporate protection. Remington will operate under Chapter 11, whereas strong gun control debate continues.