For two centuries, it has been a totem of America’s gun culture — a epithet emblazoned on frontier flintlocks and U.S. Army. 45 s.
But on Monday Remington Outdoor Co ., which traces its history back to 1816, said it would file for bankruptcy protection, succumbing to a slump in business worsened by, of all things, a chairwoman who has steadfastly supported Americans’ right to bear arms.
The bankruptcy is a blow to the private-equity mogul Stephen Feinberg, who has been a prominent advocate of President Donald Trump. Feinberg’s firm, Cerberus Capital Management, acquired Remington in 2007 and subsequently saddled it with almost$ 1 billion in debt. The Chapter 11 insolvency filing will let Remington stay in business while it works out a plan to turn around the company and pay its creditors.
Remington has been around for over 200 years, dating back to 1816 when Eliphalet Remington II worked with a local gunsmith to create a flintlock rifle. It received its first contract in 1845, fabricating 5,000 “Mississippi” rifles for the U.S. military. Today, the company utilizes 3,500 people and is among the largest American manufacturers of ammunition and handguns.
While the Remington name is unlikely to disappear, the company’s travails highlight the changing lucks of the firearms industry and its fraught position in the nation’s economic and political life. The company’s lucks took a reach after the election of Donald Trump, a self-proclaimed” true friend” of the gun industry, because Hillary Clinton’s defeat erased anxieties among gun enthusiasts about losing access to weapons. Sales plummeted, and retailers stopped re-ordering as they discovered themselves stuffed with unsold inventory.
Industry wide-ranging, gun manufacturing had been ramping up even as possession rates wane. More than 11 million firearms were manufactured under the U.S. in 2016, up from fewer than four million a decade ago, according to data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In 2014, 31 percentage of American households reported owning a firearm, down from 47 percentage in 1973, according to a report from National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.
Gun ownership has become more concentrated as a result, with a small sliver of handgun owners owning a growing segment of America’s handguns inventorying, according to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. These gun customers have come to be known as” super proprietors” and one examine, conducted by Harvard and Northeastern universities, concluded that about half the handguns in America are owned by only 3 percent of the adult population, with an average of 17 handguns each.
“It’s not the first time Remington has been in fiscal difficulty; it probably won’t be the last, ” said Richard Feldman, chairman of the Independent Firearm Owners Association.
“Almost all behemoths end up stumbling over themselves during see-saws in industry cycles. I suspect that if the Democrats make a resurgence this November, gun company inventories will come roaring back with them.”
Remington’s prepackaged reorganization will be filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, according to a statement from the company. Owners of the gunmaker’s $550 million term loan will take an 82.5 percent equity stake in Remington while third-lien noteholders get 17.5 percent of the company and four-year warrants for a 15 percent stake, according to Remington. Creditors will also offer a $100 million debtor-in-possession loan to finance functionings throughout bankruptcy.
Representatives for the Madison, North Carolina-based corporation and Cerberus didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The company’s reputation has suffered make further efforts to line up new investors. Remington came under unwanted scrutiny and litigation after the carnage of 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in which the gunman carried a small arsenal that included a Remington Bushmaster assault rifle.
Four days after the shooting in 2012, Cerberus announced it would sell the company, as agitated Cerberus investors demanded a way out of the Remington investment, but it failed to nab a purchaser. In the meantime, another pillar of American gun also collapsed, with Colt Holding Co. taking a trip through bankruptcy in 2015.
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