Remington, the country’s oldest firearms manufacturer, has filed for protection from bankruptcy. Although they announced their intentions to file for bankruptcy through Chapter 11 in February, many activists pushing for gun control are celebrating as if this filing was a direct result of their marches over the weekend.
“I have chills,” one user tweeted, along with a link to a report on the filing. “We are watching history right now.”
Remington, which just filed for bankruptcy protection, is the parent company of Bushmaster, makers of the AR-15 assault rifle. The Sandy Hook shooter carried a Remington Bushmaster XM15-E2S assault rifle. I have chills. We are watching history right now. https://t.co/HMgLcyu4Xf pic.twitter.com/xDe9hoIDBi
— Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) March 26, 2018
Gunmaker Remington Outdoor has filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware. The filing came after a weekend of marches across the U.S. seeking tighter laws to fight gun violence #tictocnews https://t.co/LbtnQHA4mJ pic.twitter.com/B9gw9Z2bTy
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) March 26, 2018
Unfortunately for these folks, Remington’s decline has been long and obvious to anyone paying attention to their development of new firearms, falling standards in quality control, and gross corporate mismanagement.
This Was A Long Time Coming
In 2007 Remington was purchased by the Freedom Group and their giant backers, Cerberus Capital Management, a massive private equity firm. Cerberus spent the early aughts purchasing popular, big name brands in the firearms industry like Bushmaster, DPMS Panther Arms, and others. Unfortunately for Remington, Cerebus’ claim to fame happened to be driving companies into the ground, notably Chrysler.
Failure To Launch
Remington has suffered the same fate and the writing was on the wall. Over the last decade, rather than develop innovative new products, Remington largely rested on their laurels.
In 2014 Remington launched a “new” pistol, the R51. The R51 was based off the original Model 51, a nearly 100 year old pistol with a fairly unique action called the Pedersen “hesitation lock.” It was received with some fanfare in the gun press until reviewers actually got their hands on the R51. Unfortunately, it was an unmitigated disaster. The pistol is absolutely infuriating to disassemble and clean, it’s recoil is painful, and even worse: it fails to function reliably. Reviewer after reviewer, from paid professionals to normal gun owners, found that it failed to properly feed the next round, it failed to fire when the trigger was pulled, and even fired out-of-battery, endangering the shooter and those nearby.
Remington manufactured this pistol so poorly that they were forced to recall every single R51 pistol they produced so that they could be repaired. Even their updated Gen 2 versions suffered from unnecessarily complicated design and poor quality control. Remington’s complete failure to launch a new product sunk not only a huge amount of research and development dollars, but also further eroded gun owners’ trust in the brand.
Destroying The Classics
Remington’s Model 700 is a bolt action rifle that comes in just about any caliber that’s available. When you think grandpa’s hunting rifle, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about the Model 700. Back before releasing the R51, Remington settled a class action lawsuit that found that every single one of their Model 700’s with the Walker Fire Control Trigger Mechanism could accidentally fire a round, even if the safety was engaged and nothing ever touched the trigger. This lawsuit even affected rifles made before Cerberus took over ownership — more than 5 million rifles in total.
Remington was forced to offer replacement trigger systems for millions of defective rifles and they even placed advertisements during Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity talk shows to let gun owners know they needed to replace their Model 700 triggers.
Remington’s quality control blunders not only on these rifles, but also on their popular shotguns, has led to an increase in the price of used pre-Freedom Group rifles and shotguns in the secondary market. Many classified ads will actually highlight the firearm was made before Freedom Group took over to entice prospective buyers.
Activist Lawsuits Nipping At Their Heels
Any time you have to ask “which lawsuit,” you know a company is in trouble. While the trouble from Remington’s Model 700 still swirled around the company, they were hit with another lawsuit from families that lost loved ones at Sandy Hook. In November of 2017, the Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments pinning responsibility for the actions of Adam Lanza on Remington. Many of the activist left would have you believe this lawsuit threatens the future of the company and gun manufacturing in the United States, all but forcing Remington into bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, this assessment not only ignores all recent history with this kind of legal action, but also the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. In 2005, Congress passed legislation that would block frivolous lawsuits against firearms manufacturers and dealers. This meant politically motivated groups like the Brady Center and Everytown can’t sue gun dealers or makers out of business for the simple act of engaging in lawful sale and manufacture of firearms.
This hasn’t stopped the Brady Center from convincing families to hopelessly sue the gun industry in the hopes of some kind of misguided vengeance. In 2015 a judge dismissed a lawsuit against Lucking Gunner, an ammunition dealer, a lawsuit very similar to the one Remington currently faces. Likely, the lawsuit against Remington will be thrown out for similar reasons. Just like you wouldn’t hold Ford or Jack Daniels accountable if a driver gets drunk, drives, and hurts people, you don’t get to sue companies for the unrelated actions of deranged individuals.
This Isn’t The Story The Left Wants It To Be
While Remington threw out unfinished products on the market that failed to serve the desires of their customers, new gun companies across the country expanded to meet their needs. In the same time that Remington has acquired debt and lawsuits, other companies expanded their offerings and brought new innovations to the gun market.
Don’t believe the false narrative that Remington’s bankruptcy filing is a result of gun control protests or slack on the demand curve for new firearms. The only people boycotting Remington are gun owners that are demanding a higher quality product and are buying it elsewhere. Remington’s story is a tale as old as time; the legacy behemoth grew stale lazy and was overtaken by younger startups.