Remington Outdoor Co. is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company announced Monday, offering a restructuring plan that will allow the gunmaker to shed $700 million worth of debt. The company traces its roots back to 1816, when Eliphalet Remington II created his first flintlock rifle, and it sold its first rifles to the U.S. military in 1845. But a year under President Trump was apparently too much. Gun sales have slumped with Trump in the White House, not because Trump opposes gun rights, but because he champions them.
Remington's fortunes took a hit when "Hillary Clinton's defeat erased fears among gun enthusiasts about losing access to weapons," Bloomberg reports, and while sales plummeted and retailers stopped restocking firearms, gunmakers kept on churning out guns. More than 11 million firearms were manufactured in the U.S. in 2016, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, up from fewer than 4 million guns made 10 years ago, Bloomberg notes. Fewer households own firearms now, though the people who do own guns tend to own a lot of them — an estimated 3 percent of American adults own half of all U.S. civilian firearms.
Remington is currently owned by Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm of Trump supporter Stephen Feinberg, but it won't be after the Chapter 11 process. Feinberg tried unsuccessfully to sell Cerberus after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where a Remington Bushmaster rifle was used in the massacre of children. Remington said its operations "will not be disrupted by the restructuring process."
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Rival gunmaker Colt went through bankruptcy reorganization in 2015, and this is "not the first time Remington has been in financial trouble; it probably won't be the last," Richard Feldman, president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association, told Bloomberg. Still, he saw hope on the horizon: "I suspect that if the Democrats make a resurgence this November, gun company stocks will come roaring back with them."
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