Glock introduces new Glock 45 compact crossover, Gen5 MOS designsThe Georgia-based gun maker Glock introduced on Monday a new compact handgun, the Glock 45, and expanded the Gen5 pistol design to include the Glock 17 MOS and Glock 19 MOS.
For the Glock 45, the company describes it as a crossover design that utilizes a compact slide and a full-size frame. The new gun includes all the popular Glock features like a passive trigger safety, front slide serrations, ambi controls, modular backstrap system, and a Glock marksman barrel.
The Glock Compact Crossover Pistol Model G45 will make its debut at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference next month.
Next, the new Gen5 MOS — Modular Optics System, which was introduced in January — will make the Glock 17 and Glock 19 optic ready for precision shooting.
“The MOS platform offers a convenient way for users to mount reflex sights without costly alterations to an original Glock slide,” said osh Dorsey, Glock vice president. “The resulting combination of optical sighting and the unparalleled accuracy and reliability of the new generation of Glock pistols set a new standard for this class of pistol.”
9/24/18 | by Daniel Terrill
The G17 Gen5 MOS and the G19 Gen5 MOS will be available for purchase starting Oct. 5 at participating dealers.
Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation saves lives through education, opportunitiesDerek LeBlanc stood behind the podium at the recent Gun Rights Policy Conference, a participant of a panel aimed at advancing the gun rights message, passionately emphasizing the need for activism as it relates to youth firearm safety education.
LeBlanc is president and founder of the Kids Safety Around Firearms Education Foundation. The nonprofit aims to educate youth on firearm safety while also providing opportunities for students designed to keep kids out of trouble.
Since its inception, Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation has worked with thousands of kids to educate them on basic gun safety, the how-to’s of safe gun handling as well as engaging in field trips to the range to better understand guns. All this work has been devoted to creating an informed youth — one that understands the consequences guns inherently carry.
Additionally, the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation has worked to eradicate bullying through anti-bullying campaigns that have even gone so far as to prevent at least one school shooting, according to LeBlanc.
“We teach the four basic gun safety rules that would save their lives if they came across guns. We take that many steps further though,” LeBlanc told the crowd at the Gun Rights Policy Conference. “We also talk abut anti-bullying.”
Unlike other organizations, LeBlanc has taken a unwavering approach of inclusivity. Shying away from ideology and branding, LeBlanc looks to reach past just gun owners with his educational programs. LeBlanc said Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation paints with broad strokes, utilizing a friendlier narrative to draw gun owners and non-gun owners alike into the folds of the program. With 42-percent of the kids in his program hailing from non-gun owning households, LeBlanc’s concerns lie with keeping kids alive and well in his community.
“This is not a right or left issue. This is a safety issue. My goal is to be a uniter, not a divider,” LeBlanc said. “A lot of people don’t like guns, so I have to be able to tailor my message to reach people who don’t like guns. That’s what’s made us very successful. It’s the way in which we’ve been able to present the message.”
LeBlanc’s organization is a boots on the ground, Oregon-based grassroots initiative determined to reduce the number of youth deaths at the hands of guns. Though LeBlanc boasts a reach of 5,400, he seeks to grow that number into the millions. For that reason, LeBlanc told Guns.com after his speech he’s working on mobilizing a safety coalition. Using local instructors and resources, LeBlanc said he’s busy creating connections and a pipeline to roll out his vision nationwide.
“I want to reach as many kids as I can,” LeBlanc told Guns.com. “We got to make sure kids know what to do when they come across guns. Nine kids per day get shot with unsecured firearms…it’s so preventable. All you have to do is properly store your guns and educate your kids.”
LeBlanc is no stranger to violence and, specifically, the role guns often play in subverting bad situations. The survivor of a vicious assault that was resolved with a pistol-grip equipped shotgun, LeBlanc has seen first hand the potential — both good and bad — guns possess. While he emphasizes how thankful that a shotgun was his saving grace during his time of need, LeBlanc also says he sees the possible hazard these items pose to kids. It was this realization that propelled LeBlanc to his current position of activist and mentor.
“We need to carry this torch,”LeBlanc commented. “We have to empower our kids to make safe and responsible decisions when it comes to firearms.”
Though LeBlanc spoke to a crowd packed with 2A supporters, he reiterated to Guns.com that this issue goes beyond political lines. Gun safety isn’t a topic that just concerns the “right” but one that impacts all Americans.
“Just because you don’t have guns in the home doesn’t mean your kids can’t be exposed to them. That’s why it’s so critical for us to reach out to the people who don’t have guns in their homes,” he concluded. “Zero firearm accidents is the only acceptable goal.”
To learn more about Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation and to get involved check out their website at: https://kidssafefoundation.org/
9/24/18 | by Jacki Billings
Trijicon picks up $7 million SOCOM handgun reflex sight contractThe U.S. Special Operations Command awarded Michigan-based Trijicon on Wednesdaya $7.62 million contract for handgun sights. The firm-fixed-price contract for what the military terms as a Miniature Aiming Systems — Day Optics (MAS-D) Handgun Reflex Sight (HRS) is set to run over a five-year period.
According to the award, the sight is “a low profile, wide field of view, passive sight for rapid day and night pistol target engagements in confined spaces, while prisoner handling, or in extremis after the primary weapon malfunctions.”
The U.S. military in recent years has embraced ruggedized miniature reflex-type, or RMR, sights on handguns. The winner of the Army’s Modular Handgun System contract, variants of the Sig Sauer P320 adopted as the M17 and M18 pistols, include a removable top plate for an RMR system.
As far back as 2016, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command identified a need for “low vis” optics-ready Glock 19 handguns with the slide cut to accept a red dot sight, a separate requirement from the MHS program. At the same time, the service identified a need for at least 12,592 handgun RMR sights for use across Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force special operations units.
The competitive contract awarded to Trijicon is classified as “indefinite-quantity” but the 2017 MAS-D-HRS solicitation stated an estimated maximum of 14,350 units would be needed. Military contracting authorities report they had two other offers received. Each competitor had to submit 16 samples for review as well as 10 front and rear suppressor-height sights that enable “absolute co-witness.”
Trijicon’s RMR offerings are substantial with adjustable LED, LED, and dual-illuminated variants of their Type 2 sight currently cataloged, although it is not disclosed which model the military has accepted. The contract was issued through the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana.
8/16/18 | by Chris Eger
Shopify revamps user policies, places restrictions on gun and parts makersShopify quietly revamped its policies Monday, effectively banning the sale of certain guns, gun parts and accessories for online retailers using the e-commerce platform.
Shopify’s Acceptable User Policy underwent changes to include a new category of restricted items. On the updated list, semi-automatic firearms that accept a detachable magazine and offer a capacity greater than 10 rounds are no longer considered acceptable for sale via Shopify. Additional restrictions banning the sale of unfinished lowers, pistol grips, forward grips, threaded barrels, suppressors, thumbhole stocks and magazines over 10 rounds have also been instituted.
Shopify members were notified of the changes late Monday night into Tuesday morning with multiple firearms retailers taking to the web to protest the changes.
“This decision will have significant ramifications to our business and should concern every online retailer and Second Amendment supporter,” Cole Leleux, general manager of Florida-based Spike’s Tactical, commented in a press release. “We have invested more than $100,000 in the development of our Shopify store, which will disappear once these policies go into effect.”
Shopify sent an ambiguous email out to members late Monday evening notifying them of the new policies.
Lawrence DeMonico, president of Rare Breed Firearms in Texas, said the policy change will definitely impact his company. Rare Breed Firearms just launched its brand new Spartan lower receiver with the product sold exclusively through a Shopify retailer.
“We have spent the last three years developing the Rare Breed brand and more than $40,000 developing our Shopify site,” DeMonico said in a statement. “Depending on how this policy is rolled out, this is a move that could put companies like ours out of business, and we will undoubtedly be looking to pursue legal options.”
Shopify has offered no explanation as to why their policies have been updated to restrict the sale of firearms related products. Interestingly, Shopify, which boasts nearly 600,000 members, faced backlash in 2017 when it refused to remove sellers providing Breitbart products. At the time the company cited free speech and free commerce as pillars of its moral code.
“To kick off a merchant is to censor ideas and interfere with the free exchange of products at the core of commerce. When we kick off a merchant, we’re asserting our own moral code as the superior one. But who gets to define that moral code?” Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke offered in a statement published on CBC in 2017. “If we start blocking out voices, we would fall short of our goals as a company to make commerce better for everyone. Instead, we would have a biased and diminished platform.”
Guns.com reached out to Shopify Tuesday for comment but received no word by time of publication. However, in the wake of a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, demonstrations successfully influenced major retailers and financial institutes to alter their policies in similar ways.
In the meantime, Spike’s Tactical is spearheading a movement against the e-commerce platform, asking that any gun manufacturers or retailers experiencing problems over the updated policy contact Spike’s Tactical.
8/15/18 | by Jacki Billings
Facebook is removing links to 3D gun techThe social network announced last week they are moving to scrub content related to downloadable 3D printed gun files from their platform.
Facebook, with an estimated 2.23 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2018, said they are actively looking to remove such content, reports Reuters.
“Sharing instructions on how to print firearms using 3D printers is not allowed under our Community Standards. In line with our policies, we are removing this content from Facebook,” said a company spokesperson, going on to explain that the existing policy will soon be updated.
Currently, the platform prohibits the “purchase, sale, gifting, exchange, and transfer of firearms, including firearm parts or ammunition” among private individuals on Facebook.
A 3D plans project, backed by the Firearms Policy Coalition and other gun rights groups, has been blocked by Facebook and its related Instagram and Messenger platforms, said the FPC. The site was established shortly after Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed was blocked by a federal judge in Seattle from posting 3D gun plans.
“What we are experiencing is a complete ban on CodeIsFreeSpeech.com — not a ‘shadow ban’, not a reduced newsfeed presence, but a complete and total ban,” noted the group. “Welcome to Facebook North Korea.”
As of Monday, the Facebook page for Defense Distributed itself, with 18,000 followers, was still live as was a DefDist CNC milling support group. Also available were pages by the Alliance Against 3d Printed Guns as well as posts from gun control groups against the technology.
The move comes as the social media giant is concentrating on the debate between the intersection of technology and free speech while drawing a line on what it considers offensive content. Notably, Facebook Zucc’d various pages related to firebrand Alex Jones’ InfoWars channel last week, which in turn triggered the standalone InfoWars app to become one of the “hottest in the country” in terms of recent downloads.
8/13/18 | by Chris Eger
Arkansas man sentenced to seven years for gun trafficking in ChicagoAn Arkansas man will spend seven years in prison after admitting he sold nearly two dozen firearms to a convicted felon in Chicago last year.
Klint Kelley, 28, pleaded guilty in March to one count of unlawfully engaging in the business of dealing firearms after selling an old friend turned confidential informant 21 guns in April, July and September of last year.
“In a city that has seen shootings and homicides in astronomical numbers, illegal transportation of firearms and to a known convicted felon should not be tolerated,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tobara S. Richardson said last month. “Defendant knowingly engaged in criminal conduct that contributes to one of the worst aspects of the city.”
Kelley moved to Malvern, Arkansas from Chicago more than a decade ago to escape the violence and strife of city life, according to a police affidavit filed last year. He knew the confidential informant for more than 15 years and admitted being aware of the informant’s prior felony convictions. Seized cell phone records proved Kelley traveled to and from the city during the same weekends he sold the informant guns.
The purchased guns — totaling nearly $15,000 — included 9mm handguns, .380-caliber semiautomatic pistols, .40-caliber and .45-caliber semiautomatic rifles and .357-caliber revolver, according to court documents. The majority of the guns were stolen, Kelley said.
“I know it don’t mean fuck to you, but these [referring to firearms] all came from a dude that told me they came from an old man and they’re not even hot,” he told the informant, according to court documents. “I mean, they’re all supposed to be legit. Not that that makes a fuck in the hands of whoever they end up in, you know what I mean.”
Kelley’s lawyer, Joshua Adams, requested his client serve just three years in prison, describing him as “a good person who made an extremely poor decision,” according to a report from the Chicago Tribune.
U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman lacked any sympathy for Kelley, citing his forethought to avoid a paper trail leading back to the gun purchases. “He knew exactly what was going to happen to these guns,” he said. “I can’t think, at this point in the history of Chicago, of a worse crime for someone to commit.”
8/08/18 | by Christen Smith
Report: FBI will add 400 million new records to NICSThe Federal Bureau of Investigation will add more than 400 million new records to the database used to vet gun buyers, according to a report this week from the Trace.
The National Data Exchange, aka N-DEx, contains incident and arrest reports, probation and parole documents, according to the report — a trove of information capable of preventing questionable gun transfers from proceeding, such as in the case of the Charleston church shooter.
“The idea that the FBI would have info in a database that would prohibit a gun transaction — but not make it available to the background check examiners — just doesn’t make sense,” said Frank Campbell, a Department of Justice lawyer who helped set up the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in the 1990s, during an interview with the Trace.
With access to N-DEx, investigators working the day in April 2015 when convicted shooter Dylann Roof bought a Glock handgun from a dealer in South Carolina would have seen arrest records where he admitted guilt for drug possession two months prior — an offense barring him from owning guns. Instead, agents could only see an arrest and were unable to narrow down the specifics of the incident within the three-day waiting period allotted for flagged checks. The dealer moved forward with the sale and two months later, Roof — fueled by racism — murdered nine parishioners at a historically-black church in Charleston.
Stephen Morris headed the FBI’s background check division at the time of the attack. He told The Trace adding N-DEx, a process that will likely take up to two years, makes complete sense — and should have been done a long time ago. “At the end of the day, you’re going to get some quicker decisions and that’s a benefit,” Morris said.
Nearly 41 percent of the 120,000 denials in 2016 comprised applicants convicted a crime punishable by more than one year in prison — or two years for a misdemeanor. Another 20 percent of applicants were denied as “fugitives from justice.” About 9 percent of denials were related to substance abuse, according to a federal report released last year.
7/11/18 | by Christen Smith
United Sporting Companies Purchases AcuSport’s Name, Distribution Capabilities & IT AssetsAcusport is nearing the end of its journey to its final resting place with United Sporting Companies and Ellett Brothers. United Sporting Companies now owns Ellett Brothers, Jerry’s Sport Center and Acusport which are all distributors of firearms and related goods. After facing many tumultuous, roller-coaster years like all of us in the firearm industry coupled with a fast return to normalcy, Acusport eventually filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
Ellett Brothers, a subsidiary of United Sporting Companies, signed an asset purchase agreement which allowed them to take on the distribution capabilities of Acusport and their IT assets as well without assuming any of their debt. This was announced to the public in early May this year.
Now fast forward to June 29th. The Bellefontaine Examiner, a hometown newspaper for Bellefontaine, Ohio where Acusport is from broke the news that a U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge approved the sale of Acusport to Ellett Brothers. Specifically, Judge John E. Hoffman Jr. cleared the way for Acusport to be sold to Ellett Brothers, and effectively United Sporting Companies, to the tune of $7.35 million. As a part of that agreement, Acusport will also pay out $400K in expense reimbursements and a $300K break up fee. In this final agreement, Ellett Brothers reserves the right to use the Acusport name, if they so desire.
Whenever companies are faced with the decision to file bankruptcy it can be a tremendously difficult path to travel. This can be excruciatingly true for the hundreds of employees involved. Thankfully, there have been over 100 of the former Acusport employees who will be hired on at Ellett Brothers. Even more prominent figures from Acusport have found homes elsewhere. John Flanagan, formerly the Chief Financial Officer for Acusport, has been hired on as the new CFO for Remington Outdoor Company (ROC).
Amidst everything that has been going on the CEO of United Sporting Companies, Brad Johnson, has been rather quiet. This is not a knock on him. He likely has been overwhelmingly busy. With the sale of Acusport finalizing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court he shared these words on July 10th about the acquisition of Acusport into the United Sporting Companies’ family of brands:
United Sporting Companies is pleased to have completed the acquisition of the state of the art distribution and IT assets of AcuSport. Further, we are delighted that we were able to retain and provide employment to over 100 of AcuSport’s former employees. We believe this purchase synergistically combines the best of AcuSport and United Sporting Companies to create the industry’s leading shooting sports distribution company.
At this time, United Sporting Companies is anticipating that shipments from their Utah distribution facility will resume in July while the Ohio facility should do the same by fall 2018.
by Adam Scepaniak
Man wounded after storing revolver in his ovenAn Ohio man suffered injuries last month after picking what later turned out to be a less than ideal storage spot for his handgun.
Robin L. Garlock, 44, of Warren, was taken for treatment at St. Joseph Warren Hospital after he was hit by fragments from a revolver he had stored in his oven, as reported by the Youngstown Vindicator. Garlock had placed the handgun in the kitchen appliance to keep it out of the reach of visiting children but his girlfriend, without knowing the loaded firearm was secreted in the broiler, turned the oven on and the ammunition eventually started cooking off.
“He was struck twice while trying to get the weapon secured,” Warren Police Detective Wayne Mackey told the Vindicator. “The culprit is a Maytag oven.”
Mackey cautioned that while the story seems far-fetched, police found bullet holes in the stove and the gun– which had two empty shell casings in the seized chamber– had “obviously had been in a fire.”
Mackey went on to tell Raw Story that the story was “a weird one,” going on to say that “In thirty years I have not had anybody shot by an appliance.”
While they don’t mention kitchen appliances that can generate a lot of heat, the National Shooting Sports Foundation recommends against hiding a gun in a closet, drawer or similar location.
“Safe storage is employing precautions and multiple safeguards that provide an additional barrier against unauthorized use,” says the trade group on their Project ChildSafe website.
6/11/18 | by Chris Eger
Supreme Court upholds there is no Constitutional right to sell gunsThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld an Alameda County law barring gun stores within 500 feet of residential properties in a blow to gun rights advocates.
The high court declined to take up the case of businessman John Teixeira and his partners who found the California county’s zoning ordinances made it impossible to find a commercial property where they could operate a gun store.
The challenge had been filed with the Supreme Court after the U.S. 9th Circuit ruled in October that local governments could regulate the sale of firearms so long as patrons could still buy them somewhere in the area. The ruling said the Second Amendment does not protect the ability to engage in gun sales.
The case was backed by a number of gun rights groups to include the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, the Calguns Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation, with attorneys Alan Gura and Don Kilmer at the helm. In the matter, the groups contended the zoning effectively put the entire county off-limits to new gun stores, threatening the constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms by making them unavailable.
The original challenge dates back to 2012 after the plaintiffs attempted for two years to comply with the county’s requirements, but had difficulty finding a location at least 500-feet away from a residential area, day care center, school or other “sensitive areas.” While the men were initially granted a variance from the 500-foot rule to lease a location 446 feet away from a residential area, county officials reversed the decision after a local homeowners’ association objected, leading the entrepreneurs to seek redress with the courts.
While a District Court initially upheld the rule, a split three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit in 2016 found Alameda County’s regulations unconstitutional. The majority noted that county officials should provide evidence showing, for instance, that gun stores increase crime to justify such regulations. That decision, in turn, was vacated and the case was sent for retrial before the larger en banc panel last year who held there were no such constitutional protections on gun sales.
Gun control advocates who stood with the county and filed a number of supporting briefs arguing on behalf of the ban applauded the news from the court. “The Ninth Circuit agreed with our position that Alameda County’s modest zoning law provides a safe distance between new gun dealers and sensitive areas such as schools, and is a lawful exercise of the County’s authority to regulate the commercial sale of guns,” said Hannah Shearer, who handles litigation for the Giffords Law Center. “The Ninth Circuit’s ruling, and the Supreme Court’s decision to let it stand, is an important victory for local governments seeking to keep the sale and spread of guns away from kids and residential areas.”
5/16/18 | by Chris Eger
State Department releases draft of relaxed export rulesThe Department of State released a draft proposal this week easing export restrictions on firearms and ammunition.
The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls finally unveiled the suggested amendments to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) on Monday, shifting oversight of commercial arms sales to the Commerce Department and its Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
The rule change could give American manufacturers more leeway to sell guns internationally, creating more jobs stateside and adhering to the president’s “Buy American” policy platform. Lawrence Keane, senior vice president for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said in September relaxed restrictions would boost annual gun sales by as much as 20 percent.
“One of the guideposts we used in writing the proposed policy change was to look at what’s commercially available in sporting goods stores in the United States — products where the majority of the end users are not military,” a senior Commerce Department official told The Washington Times.
The proposal removes non-automatic and semi-automatic firearms from ITAR categories I and II. Corresponding parts and ammunition will no longer remain in category III. Firearms dealers large and small would no longer pay a $2,250 ITAR registration fee or a $250 licensing fee.
Instead, the products will transfer to the EAR — and undergo far less regulatory scrutiny, critics fear.
“Under the guise of reducing burdens to completing a sale, this Administration wants to make it easier for a dictator to use American firearms to oppress their people or for terrorists to build armories.”,” said Robin Lloyd, director of government affairs for the Giffords Law Center. “It’s clear the Administration will do anything to appease the gun lobby – even if it means putting profits over the safety of people around the world.”
The new rules will be published in the Federal Register later this month and be subject to a 45-day public comment period.
5/16/18 | by Christen Smith
Court approves $75 million loan to keep Remington afloatA federal judge approved a $75 million loan Tuesday to keep Remington in business as it navigates Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, court records show.
The 200-year-old gun maker filed in Delaware bankruptcy court Sunday, seeking to restructure a nearly $1 billion debt load after reporting weak sales throughout the year. The company turned a profit of just $21.6 million in 2016.
Sarah Foss, a legal analyst at Debtwire, told CNN Money the loan represents the”interim amount to get them through the interim period until they get to that final hearing on the additional amount that they’re going to need.” Remington asked for up to $338 million by April 29, according to CNN.
The money, though just a fraction of what Remington needs, will help the company make payroll and churn out firearms — just as it has since Eliphalet Remington assembled his first hand built rifle in 1816.
Cerberus Capital, a private investment firm, bought the company in 2006 in hopes of launching a multi-brand publicly-traded conglomerate headlined by the iconic gun maker. Investors began pulling out of the group, however, after a lone gunman shot and killed 26 students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School armed with a Bushmaster rifle.
Remington fell on harder times still after President Donald Trump’s surprise electoral victory left the industry flush with inventory and short on buyers. Competitors Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger and Company reported depleted earnings throughout 2017 as fears of looming gun control waned.
The company delayed plans to file for bankruptcy protections after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida claimed 17 lives. The ensuing heightened political tensions encouraged corporations and financial institutions to rethink their relationships with the gun industry — a fact Remington fears could hurt future profits.
Once it completes its 45-day bankruptcy plan, Cerberus will turn ownership over to Franklin Resources Inc. and JPMorgan Asset Management.
Kevin Cassidy, an analyst at Moodys Investor Service, said Remington faces an uphill battle against fluctuating attitudes toward gun ownership.
“It absolutely hurts them, being in this kind of industry,”he told Bloomberg. “Just like some funds no matter what won’t invest in tobacco, there are investors now that feel the same about gun companies.”
3/29/18 | by Christen Smith
SAAMI posts approves .224 Valkyrie cartridge specsThe Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute approved Federal Premium Ammunition’s .224 Valkyrie as an official new cartridge, officially publishing SAAMI standards documents for the long range cartridge.
Free access to technical data and drawings for the new cartridge and chamber designs are now available via SAAMI’s website. The .224 Valkyrie, introduced to the industry in late 2017, is based on a 6.8 SPC case necked down to .22 caliber. The cartridge is designed to work best alongside modern sporting rifle platforms, allowing the rifles to shoot past 1,000 yards.
Founded in 1926, SAAMI is tasked with creating and publishing industry standards for safety and quality in addition to coordinating technical data. The organization said a team of industry experts analyzed the Valkyrie round over a period of six months to determine whether it should be approved by the organization. Ultimately, the round was approved and Federal Premium says its excited to have SAAMI’s support.
“It’s thrilling to have brought the world’s best MSR 15 cartridge to market. We’re proud and excited about our new cartridge, and we deeply appreciate SAAMI’s support with this launch,” Federal Premium Ammunition President Jason Vanderbrink, said in a press release. “SAAMI’s approval of the cartridge was a crucial step in legitimizing it within the industry. Their work creates standards for the cartridge, increasing safety, interchangeability, reliability and quality for the dozens of firearm manufacturers currently building rifles in our 224 Valkyrie.”
The .224 Valkyrie is currently offered in four loads from Federal Premium — 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing, 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint, 90-grain Fusion MSR and 75-grain American Eagle TMJ.
3/28/18 | by Jacki Billings
DOJ releases regulation banning bump stocksThe Department of Justice unveiled a regulation late last week “effectively banning” bump stocks.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the new rule clarifies bump stocks fall under the definition of “machine gun” as it pertains to the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968.
“Since the day he took office, President Trump has had no higher priority than the safety of each and every American,” Sessions said in a news release Friday. “That is why today the Department of Justice is publishing for public comment a proposed rulemaking that would define ‘machinegun’ to include bump stock-type devices under federal law—effectively banning them.”
The move comes five weeks after Trump publicly leaned on Sessions and the department to draft a regulation banning bump stocks — and soon. The accessory, which mimics automatic gun fire, gained notoriety in October after a lone gunman mowed down 58 people and injured more than 850 others on the Las Vegas strip with a dozen rifles modified with the devices.
“After the senseless attack in Las Vegas, this proposed rule is a critical step in our effort to reduce the threat of gun violence that is in keeping with the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress,” Sessions said.
The proposal represents an about-face for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Back in 2010, the agency declined regulating a bump stock device submitted for review by Texas-based manufacturer Slide Fire Solutions. Rick Vasquez, the now-retired agent who made the call, stood by his decision in October after federal investigators found the same brand attached to firearms in the Las Vegas shooter’s hotel suite.
“The Slide Fire does not fire automatically with a single pull/function of the trigger,” he said in an Oct. 7 Facebook post, noting the single pull trigger remains integral to the definition of a machine gun.
He responded briefly to the impending ban in an email to Guns.com last month. “The ATF has been directed to write a regulation that is stronger then the law,” he said. “An agency can write regulations, but only Congress can write laws.”
Nonetheless, the ATF said in the proposal Friday its previous interpretation was wrong.
“In this proposed rule, the department accordingly interprets the definition of ‘machine gun’ to clarify that all bump stock-type devices are ‘machine guns’ under the GCA and NFA because they convert a semiautomatic firearms into a firearm that shoots automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger,” the DOJ said Friday.
The official notice of proposed rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register, Sessions said.
In the meantime, gun rights groups have already promised a legal challenge.
“Gun Owners of America will seek out other pro-gun organizations to join us challenging this illegal executive action in court,” said Gun Owners of America Executive Director Erich Pratt in a news release Friday. “And we predict that an honest, constitutional and legal analysis by the courts will result in this regulation being struck down.”
Pratt eviscerated Trump for placing himself farther left than the Obama administration, noting the president’s predecessor did nothing when the ATF initially determined bump stocks harmless in 2010.
“Gun Owners of America considers a ban on bump stocks as yet another infringement of our Second Amendment-protected rights. ‘Shall not be infringed’ means what it says — gun control should NOT be the jurisdiction of the U.S. government,” he said. “To be sure, banning these items will not make us any safer and it will only lead to more infringements — to restrictions on magazines, match triggers and more. This is something that the anti-gun Left understands and is hoping for.”
3/26/18 | by Christen Smith
Second Amendment groups react to YouTube gun policy changesNational gun rights and firearms industry groups are warning YouTube that its actions could estrange the video sharing platform from millions of users, and violate constitutional rights.
In response to YouTube’s pending policy updates on videos that include firearms content, the National Rifle Association, and National Shooting Sports Foundation are concerned the move could herald a comprehensive effort to ferret out lawful gun culture and separate it from the site.
“Millions of Americans watch YouTube videos every day to learn more about the safe and responsible use of firearms, and those videos show law-abiding gun owners participating in lawful behavior,” said the NRA in a statement. “By banning this content, YouTube is engaging in politically motivated censorship and alienating the millions of people who turn to the website for education and training.”
The new rules, announced last Tuesday, including making it clear that YouTube will not host videos highlighting guns or some accessories such as bump stocks or magazines capable of holding more than 30 rounds for private sale by individuals. The Google subsidiary also said it won’t allow clips on manufacturing ammunition, guns, or suppressors or how to install or modify certain accessories. Further, links back to gun dealers and makers will not be allowed.
The NSSF warns this could have a negative effect on otherwise legal firearm commerce. “Much like Facebook, YouTube now acts as a virtual public square,” said the gun trade group. “The exercise of what amounts to censorship, then, can legitimately be viewed as the stifling of commercial free speech, which has constitutional protection. Such actions also impinge on the Second Amendment.”
Meanwhile, content creators have been banging the drum to migrate to dedicated gun-centric platforms such as Full30, GetZone, UGE and James Yeager’s LiberTV start-up as well as alternative sites such as Vimeo, BitChute and even PornHub with reportedly good results. In the case of the latter, an adult website owned by Luxembourg-based MindGeek, the company has said they may look into a non-sexually explicit alternative offshoot for such content in the future, so it’s not so crazy to think there are valid alternatives for YouTube gun vloggers on the horizon.
3/26/18 | by Chris Eger
Gun maker Remington files for bankruptcyFirearms manufacturer Remington Outdoor Company has filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of falling sales and lawsuits stemming from the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday night.
According to the Journal, Remington announced that it would file for Chapter 11 last month but the actual filing was delayed after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people.
The paper reported that Remington officials plan 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.
The Journal reported that the gun industry is facing low demand and high stock after Donald Trump's unexpected election to the presidency in 2016. According to the paper, firearms manufacturers boosted output in the run-up to the election, expecting that a Hillary Clinton victory would lead to a boost in sales ahead of tighter gun laws.
In 2016, families of the Sandy Hook victims filed a wrongful-death suit against Remington, claiming that it had negligently marketed "military-style" weapons to younger demographics -- namely, 20-year-old Sandy Hook gunman Adam Lanza.
A trial judge dismissed the initial lawsuit, but the plaintiffs appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, which is considering the matter.
Katie-Mesner Hage, an attorney with Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, which represents Sandy Hook families in their lawsuit against the gun manufacturer said in a statement that “We do not expect this filing to affect the families’ case in any material way.”
Founded in 1816, Remington is America's oldest gun maker.
By Samuel Chamberlain | Fox News
Two file age discrimination complaints on Bi-Mart, Fred Meyer after refused ammo, rifle salesTwo Oregon men under age 21 have lodged complains with state authorities after area retailers refused to sell them ammunition and firearms due to store policy.
The men, Hayden Parsons, 20, and Jackson Starrett, 19, filed complaints with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries’ Civil Rights Division, saying that Bi-Mart and Fred Meyer, respectively, refused to sell them guns and ammo due to their age. In each case, the men said they were told they were denied their sale over company policies refusing to transfer any firearm or ammunition to adults under age 21. Parsons sought to buy rifle ammunition and was turned away while Starrett sought to purchase a rifle.
While federal regulators allow licensed gun dealers to refuse to sell firearms to eligible buyers, numerous states, including Oregon, have protections in place against retailers discriminating against purchasers based on age.
Earlier this month Tyler Watson, 20, filed lawsuits against both Dick’s and Walmart claiming they violated the state’s discrimination laws after they refused to sell him a rifle due to his age. Dick’s was named with a second lawsuit just days later by an 18-year-old Michigan man on much the same grounds, while another Oregon man, Airion Grace, hit both Bi-Mart and Fred Meyer with separate legal actions.
The retailers involved have recently made high-profile changes to company policies, upping the minimum age for gun and ammo sales in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida by a 19-year-old that left more than a dozen students and faculty dead.
In Oregon, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian warned state lawmakers that the bureau sees “nothing that would preclude an individual from filing a complaint with BOLI if they believe a retailer unfairly denied them service in the purchase of a gun.” Avakian went on to say his agency would submit legislation for the 2019 session to help provide legal cover for dealers to legally refuse gun sales based on age and encouraged policymakers to institute licensing requirements, gun registration and bans on “military-style assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade group for the firearms industry, warns FFLs that at least nine states and Washington, D.C. allow for a private right of action where it comes to age discrimination laws.
Fred Meyers has subsequently announced they were exiting the business of firearm retail citing declining sales and a need to optimize floor space.
3/23/18 | by Chris Eger
Citibank implements new policy requirements for partnering gun dealersCitibank announced this week it will cut ties with partnering businesses unwilling to adopt new policies for selling firearms.
Dealers large and small wishing to do business with Citi must place age restrictions on gun sales, ban bump stocks and high capacity magazines and refuse to complete transactions when buyers fail background checks, Executive Vice President Ed Skylar, of Citi’s Global Public Affairs, said Thursday.
“It is not centered on an ideological mission to rid the world of firearms. That is not what we seek,” he said in a blog post on the company’s website. “There are millions of Americans who use firearms for recreational and other legitimate purposes, and we respect their Constitutional right to do so. But we want to do our part as a company to prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands.”
It’s unclear which business and gun makers will be impacted by the new policies, but Skylar said Citi will perform “its due diligence in initiating those conversations.”
Citibank’s new policies follow a corporate backlash against perceived lax gun laws in the wake of the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Florida. Leadership at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart, L.L. Bean and Kroger all adopted stricter gun sales policies — similar to Citi’s new requirements — as a response to inaction on Capitol Hill.
“We know that the actions we are taking today will invite passion on both sides,” Skylar said. “We don’t have the perfect solution but we have come to the conclusion that we must do our part to keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to do harm. And we hope our actions help achieve that vital goal.”
3/23/18 | by Christen Smith
Remington may enter bankruptcy court this weekRemington Outdoor Company updated a restructuring support agreement with lenders this week, putting the gun giant days away from filing for bankruptcy protections.
In Monday’s agreement, Remington laid out a timeline that set March 18 as the deadline to file a case in federal bankruptcy court. With Chapter 11 protections, the company would continue operating while negotiating with creditors and the court to restructure its nearly $1 billion debt load.
Remington named the newly formed Ankura Trust Company as an administrative agent, a role that manages payments and communications between the borrower and lender. Ankura, which formed in January, specializes in working with companies in “distressed and default situations.”
Initially, the gun maker named Bank of America as administrative agent, but the bank stepped away from the role, which delayed the process. Remington announced plans to prepare for bankruptcy two days before a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead and 15 others injured. The incident sparked national protests that caused investment firms and banks, including BoA, to review their relationships with gun companies.
With the heated political environment, Remington’s owners and creditors are looking for a quick transition. Remington’s owner, private investment firm Cerberus Capital, began building the conglomerate in 2006 to include more than a dozen brands, the biggest being Remington Arms, to one day turn the massive company public. But investors began to back out after one of the company’s products was used in the Sandy Hook school shooting in December 2012.
Once Remington completes its 45-day bankruptcy reorganization plan, Cerberus will hand over ownership to lenders including investment firm Franklin Resources and investment bank JP Morgan in exchange for cutting the $950 million debt load, Bloomberg reported.
The new owners would be responsible for shoring up new financing, some $200 million, to fund Remington’s operations and would sell the company as a whole or in parts, most likely, within a few months after coming out of bankruptcy court, Bloomberg reported. Since the deal comes along as distaste for gun investments grows, new owners would likely be smaller financial firms or possibly even another gun company.
Remington, alongside other gun companies, has seen soft market conditions since President Trump took office. Trump, running against a candidate pushing a gun control agenda, vowed to be a friend to the gun rights community. While Trump in the White House gives hope for a pro-gun agenda, it has hurt sales.
Remington, also like other major gun companies, built a surplus of inventory believing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would win and would continue former President Obama’s gun control agenda. Then, after Clinton lost the election, gun sales fell 12 percent nationally and Remington suffered a $28 million loss.
Yet, Remington had laid the groundwork to improve production. In 2014, Remington began relocating manufacturing operations for its more than a dozen brands to Huntsville, Alabama. The company projected that the effort would reduce operating costs by tens-of-millions.
3/15/18 | by Daniel Terrill
Ruger boasts about safety record, defends ARs in letter to shareholdersSturm, Ruger & Company executives told shareholders Monday they do not and cannot support “stripping” gun rights away from millions of Americans “due to the evil actions of a small number of criminals.” That’s how the Connecticut company concluded their letter after receiving a questionnaire by BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest money manager with some $1.7 trillion in active funds, and as investment firms and banks review their relationships with the gun industry.
Influenced by the activism of students and victims after last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, BlackRock said it wanted to provide more information to clients so they could make investments in line with their social values. The investment company asked publicly traded gun companies about their policies and practices so it could better understand the risks involved in the business.
After the 19-year-old gunman murdered 17 people and injured another 15 with an AR rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, gun control activists turned to corporate America for action instead of lawmakers who have repeatedly failed to pass new firearm regulations. Major retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart opted to raise the age for buying long guns from 18 to 21, a measure the pro-gun White House briefly considered until abandoning it this week. Dick’s also ended the sale of “assault-style” weapons.
Ruger executives, president and chief executive officer Chris Killoy and board chairman Michael Jacobi, defended the industry’s current standards and warned that altering their practices under political pressure would actually create risk. “Political expediency flies in the face of our fiduciary responsibility as stewards of the Company for the benefit of shareholders. Moreover, many of the proposals being advanced, while well-meaning, run counter to what our customers actually want,” they said.
In defense of AR-style rifles, Ruger executives defined the ability of a semi-automatic rifle as firing one shot per trigger pull and explained Ruger has produced firearms with that basic operation since 1949. “We do not plan to discontinue the manufacture or commercial sale of Modern Sporting Rifles,” they said, adding few are used in crime.
“Thus, their legitimate uses by responsible citizens far outnumber their misuses by criminals, who clearly have serious mental health issues that should prevent them from possessing any firearm,” Ruger executives said.
The company execs boasted about Ruger having a perfect inspection record, saying since 2010, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted five full inspections at its three facilities across the country and inspectors found no violations. “We are extremely proud of our ATF compliance efforts and the robust program we have in place,” the executives said.
“In fact, we conduct our own compliance inspections using ATF protocol multiple times each year at our manufacturing facilities, which include 100 percent verification of all serialized inventory,” they said and added that Ruger also participates in the ATF Access 2000, a system that allows law enforcement to trace Ruger firearms recovered at crime scenes or from criminals.
In response to questions about safety features, company execs said Ruger has been “innovative” in developing firearm safety features. “We were the first to invent a way to incorporate a transfer bar into a Colt-type, single-action revolver, which can help prevent accidental discharges if the user neglects to handle the revolver safely,” they said.
But they criticized smart gun features, which would disable a firearm until a biometric like a fingerprint unlocks it, calling the technology “unreliable, easily defeated, or both.” Instead, they argued, their providing cable locks with new firearms “can help prevent unauthorized access without the complexities and drawbacks of ‘smart guns.’”
On Ruger’s effort to promote public safety, company execs pointed to their support of the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s FixNICS initiative. The trade group’s program aims to improve the federal background check system without the need for lawmakers to pass new laws. They also said they support other NSSF gun safety education programs, claiming such programs have a proven track record of decreasing gun-related accidents.
Executives clarified that Ruger does not sell guns directly to customers, but rather distributes shipments of guns to independent distributors and wholesalers which supply retailers with inventory. They explained each entity is licensed by the federal government and that before a firearm is transferred to a customer, the customer must pass a background check.
Competitor American Outdoor Brands, the holding company for Massachusetts gun maker Smith & Wesson, published an open letter to BlackRock last week that hit on many of the same points. Vista Outdoor has not yet published a letter and it’s unclear if it will. With brands like Savage Arms and about half a dozen ammo companies, the shooting sports make up more than half of Vista’s sales. But the corporate backlash has also impacted its non-gun related companies, with major retailers boycotting them as well.
3/14/18 | by Daniel Terrill
Gun maker rescinds support for ‘Fix NICS’ after weekend criticismDaniel Defense dropped support for the bipartisan Fix NICS bill pending in the U.S. Senate after social media users threatened to boycott the company.
Even though the measure had already been endorsed by leading gun rights groups and the White House, the company’s owner, Marty Daniel, said on Monday that he was wrong to support the bill and cannot “in good conscience” support it any longer.
“I released the original statement because I believed it was the best option available at this time to hold back the continued attacks on the Second Amendment and the erosion of our rights,” he said in a message posted on the company’s Facebook page.
Daniel explained since releasing the statement on Friday, he had received “overwhelming feedback” that “brought to my attention that there are significant and justified concerns regarding this bill.” In Friday’s statement, Daniel called the bill “the only common sense approach to keeping firearms out of the hands of the wrong people” and asked Daniel Defense fans and customers to urge Congress to pass it.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn filed the Fix NICS Act with co-sponsor Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, to strengthen the effectiveness of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The bill would create incentives for state and federal agencies to promptly report disqualifying records to the FBI so NICS could better identify prohibited buyers.
The senators filed the bill in November, after a gunman murdered 26 people at a church in Southerland Springs, Texas. The gunman in that scenario had been convicted of domestic violence during his service in the Air Force, but the Defense Department failed to report the prohibiting details. The gaffe allowed him to pass the NICS check requested by the licensed gun dealer that transferred him the rifle would use in the attack.
The Fix NICS Act became a key component of a White House plan for preventing mass shootings, particularly at schools, after a gunman who had been making dangerous threatening comments to peers opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 15 others.
Even though President Trump had supported a similar measure of the same name, he said he opted for Cornyn and Murphy’s bill because it has bipartisan support and mass appeal. The other was tied to a partisan legislative package aiming to expand concealed carry to all 50 states and is unlikely to pass in the Senate.
The Fix NICS bill has also gained support from the two largest gun lobbyist groups, the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, as well as pro-gun control groups, which call it a step in the right direction.
Advocacy efforts led by students and victims in the Parkland attack have influenced corporate America to take action. Multiple financial firms and banks said they would review their policies about investing in the gun industry, a handful of retailers changed gun sales policies, and dozens of brands broke business relationships with the NRA. However, few gun companies have pushed for policy change. Those that had were public companies and therefore had obligations to answer to investors.
In response to a financial firm’s questionnaire, American Outdoor Brands defended industry standards and defaulted to the legislative guidance of the NSSF, a trade group that represents gun and ammo companies. Sturm, Ruger & Company also said it supports proper enforcement of existing laws.
Fix NICS has picked up 67 co-sponsors — including 34 Democrats, 31 Republicans, and two Independents — since it was filed in November. The bill was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee in December, but it’s unclear when the committee will hear the measure.
3/13/18 | by Daniel Terrill
Microstamping case headed for California Supreme court argumentCalifornia’s high court is set to hear arguments in a long running case brought by firearms industry groups who say the state’s microstamping requirement is unattainable.
The case, challenging the state’s 2007 unsafe handgun modification requirements, is set for arguments in a Los Angeles court on April 4.
Plaintiffs, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, insist the legal requirement for semi-auto handguns to mark cartridges with a microscopic array of characters, that identify the make, model and serial number of the pistol upon firing is “impossible to accomplish” and has only worked to artificially limit choices available to California gun buyers. At stake is the ability to purchase newly manufactured semi-auto handguns in the state.
“Since going into effect this ill-advised law has banned the introduction of any new models of handguns into California reducing consumers’ ability to purchase the best and most advanced handguns on the market while doing nothing to improve public safety,” said Michael Bazinet, an NSSF spokesman in a statement to Guns.com.
The suit was originally brought by the trade groups in 2014, arguing that the technology was unproven in actual field conditions and easy for criminals to defeat.
California Superior Court Judge Donald Black dismissed the case in 2015, citing the state had sovereign immunity and further holding the gun groups lacked standing to sue. On a subsequent appeal to the California 5th Appellate District, a three-judge panel later held that NSSF and SAAMI have “a right to present evidence to prove their claim” and the state Supreme Court voted last year to hear the case.
In 2014, just after the California Department of Justice began enforcing the mandate that new pistols submitted for approval to the state’s firearm roster incorporate microstamping capabilities, there were some 1,152 approved models. That roster has since constricted to 791 as legacy handguns, certified for a five-year period, cannot meet the new requirement. For instance, no Generation 4 or 5 Glocks handguns have been approved for sale in California. While handgun giant Ruger has 60 models on the list, all but one is a revolver, which are exempt from the microstamping requirement.
“We look forward to the arguments and are confident the Supreme Court will affirm the Court of Appeal rejection of the state’s argument and permit us to prove that it is impossible for firearms manufacturers to comply with the mandates of the statute,” said Bazinet.
The California Department of Justice and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment or statement.
3/13/18 | by Chris Eger
BREAKING NEWS: DOJ Moves to Reclassify Bump Stocks as ‘Machine Guns’The Department of Justice has announced it is seeking to reclassify rifles fitted with bump stocks as ‘machine guns’. This would see the wording of the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act amended to include ‘bump stock type devices’.
The decision comes in the wake of the shootings in Las Vegas and Florida (although the FL shooter did not have a bump stock). Over the past couple of months a number of prominent bodies including the NSSF, SAAMI and the NRA have signalled their acceptance of the need to review the law.
The Department of Justice is acting on a memorandum signed by the President in February directing the department to make a regulatory change to the law regarding bump stocks.
Here is the Department of Justice’s full statement:
Today the Department of Justice submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a notice of a proposed regulation to clarify that the definition of “machinegun” in the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act includes bump stock type devices, and that federal law accordingly prohibits the possession, sale, or manufacture of such devices.
“President Trump is absolutely committed to ensuring the safety and security of every American and he has directed us to propose a regulation addressing bump stocks,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “To that end, the Department of Justice has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a notice of a proposed regulation to clarify that the National Firearms and Gun Control Act defines ‘machinegun’ to include bump stock type devices.”
This submission is a formal requirement of the regulatory review process. Once approved by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice will seek to publish this notice as expeditiously as possible.
The move would overrule any previous rulings made by the ATF. While the change to the law still needs to be reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget, the change will not be voted on by Congress. The exact wording of the changes to the law have not yet been released and the status of bump stocks already owned is unclear.
by Matthew Moss
2017 in review: The gun industry recalibratesThe gun industry took a few blows in 2017 as manufacturers and retailers alike endured slumping demand post-election. Share prices bounced, company leaders stepped down and legacy brands closed up shop – divesting fear-based advertising tactics in favor of promotions.
With the new way forward for gun makers uncertain, Guns.com takes a look back at the year that was for publicly traded companies across the industry.
Smith & Wesson/American Outdoor Brands
Legacy handgun manufacturer Smith & Wesson started off its most recent fiscal year standing in one pretty tall shadow.
After reporting record-breaking sales just shy of $1 billion last year – the industry’s biggest on record for background checks and, by proxy, gun sales – Smith & Wesson’s holding company, American Outdoor Brands, anticipated a post-election slow down would decrease annual earnings by as much as 17 percent.
So when the first quarter ended July 31 with $2.2 million loss, investors seemed unphased. With revenues down by as much as half in its firearms sector, top executives revised AOBC’s annual sales in 2018 down to no more than $740 million.
Three months later, sales tanked 36 percent over 2016. Market analysts described the company’s second quarter results as a “sobering up” for the industry – evidence the promotional environment would stick around far longer than anyone anticipated, forcing everyone, Smith & Wesson included, to compete.
“Is it resetting itself at any level? It’s just not clear yet, there is a lot of noise out there,” CEO James Debney said Dec. 7. “I mean, nobody of any scale — and those are really the ones that we pay attention to — has gone away. Everybody is still in business. Some that publish their results, you can see they’re not doing so well. How long they can sustain themselves, we just don’t know.”
Most recent forecasted annual sales shrank to $650 million. The dwindling projections came amidst the resignation of Matt Buckingham, president of Smith & Wesson’s Firearms Division, on Black Friday – when background checks set a record pace of more than 203,000 processed on a single day.
Buckingham stepped down from his position effective Dec. 8 “to pursue other interests.” Debney will fulfill his duties in lieu of a replacement.
Share prices for AOBC fluctuated all year long, reaching a high of $24.45 in July – just after news of the company’s record-breaking fiscal year broke. As of Dec. 29, the gun makers stock fell by almost half to just under $13 a share.
Vista Outdoor started off 2017 from behind. It’s fourth quarter 2016 ended March 31 with sales down 12 percent – a symptom then-CEO Mark DeYoung described as a “temporary lull” in the shooting sports industry.
Vista owns more than three dozen companies in firearms, ammunition and shooting accessories, including Savage Arms, Stevens, Federal Premium, Speer and American Eagle. It also holds brands in the outdoor lifestyle market.
That self-described lull gave way to double digit sales declines in Vista’s first and second quarters – ending July 2 and Oct. 28, respectively – and the ouster of not one, but two top executives at the company: DeYoung, himself, and Chief Financial Officer Stephen Nolan, who will step down as of Feb. 1, 2018.
DeYoung headed for early retirement in July while his replacement, Chris Metz – former CEO of Arctic Cat, a Minnesota-based snow mobile and all-terrain vehicle manufacturer – wasted no time reshaping the company’s footprint and leadership.
He first announced the elimination of Shooting Sports Segment President Bob Keller’s position “to allow its business leaders to drive changes faster and have clear line of sight to the goals at hand.”
Vista’s President of Firearms Al Kasper and President of Ammunition Jason Vanderbrink will lead the company’s shooting sports segment in Keller’s absence, Metz said.
“While I’ve only been here a short time, I realize we have much to do: we must make significant changes, act decisively, and move quickly to reposition and stabilize the company,” he told investors last month. “We will take an aggressive position on profit improvement through both margin expansion and cost reductions across all areas of the core business.”
The reduction includes divesting three brands in the company’s sports protection business: Bollé, Serengeti and Cébé.
“These brands were acquired as part of the Bushnell transaction in 2013 and focus primarily on fashion, prescription and safety eyewear, which are areas that we have determined are not core to our business,” Metz said. “The sale of these brands is expected to take place over the next few quarters.”
Vista anticipates its 2018 sales will not exceed $2.26 billion — a 2 percent reduction over first quarter guidance.
Stock prices from Jan. 1, 2017 plummeted from just under $40 per share to $14.96 as of Dec. 29 – up from the one-year low of just over $13 last month.
Sturm, Ruger and Co.
Even Sturm, Ruger and Co. – considered by many market analysts the strongest performer of the publicly traded gun makers so far this year – can’t escape the long shadow 2016 cast over the industry.
CEO Chris Killoy told investors last month the 53 percent decline in net profits — and the rest of Ruger’s financial statement, for that matter — proved just how “challenging” the third quarter was for the company, with little reprieve in sight.
“We offered more promotions that were moderately more aggressive than last year, but we did not chase our competitors’ offerings to achieve better short-term results,” he said. “We will continue to take a measured and thoughtful approach to sales promotions and rebate opportunities considering both the short-term benefits and the potential longer term implications both financial and reputational.”
The dismal results come after a strong first quarter for the company, which reported $167.4 million in sales — a 3 percent decline over first quarter 2016. Sales fell more than 35 percent to $104.8 million in the third quarter ending on Sept. 30, according to the company’s earnings reports. Second quarter sales likewise plummeted 22 percent. Overall, Ruger’s gun sales trail last year by nearly 20 percent.
Killoy told shareholders in May the company “has a consistent game plan” in good times and bad and expressed certainty the market would continue to fluctuate.
“The seasonality of our industry is very well defined, very well predicted and pretty much understood by those of us in the business,” he said. “Frankly, from a percentage standpoint, people have talked about the change in the firearms market since the November election, I think it would fair in saying the demise of the firearms industry was likely greatly exaggerated.”
“That first quarter, however, was not without it’s struggles. It was a very promotionally charged environment,” he added.
He cited “aggressive price discounting and lucrative consumer rebates offered by many of our competitors” as a continuing factor in Ruger’s second quarter decline.
“But our strategy is I think you know anticipate this type of downturn in the market and it’s a volatile inventory,” he told investors in August. “It’s not all gloom and doom. To their credit, retailers are healthier than they were a few months ago. Many had increased inventories in anticipation of a surge in demand following the elections last November. When that surge didn’t materialize, it’s understandable they took a deep breath and let their inventories decrease.”
Unit sell-through from independent distributors decreased by 16 percent in quarter three, Killoy said, mimicking a 10 percent decline in National Instant Criminal Background Check System applications during the same time frame. The industry uses NICS as a barometer for sales and the gun market’s overall health, although the measurement isn’t exact.
“We think there is a lot of good signs out there for us,” Killoy said, citing a growing, diversifying pool of gun owners. “We have to manage our way through this tough market we’re in right now, but with the new products that we have teed up and some of the things that are still on the drawing board, I like our chances better than the competition to be honest with you.”
Per Killoy’s forecast, Ruger’s stock bounced by more than $20 a share throughout the year — reaching a high of more than $68 in July before falling to just under $46 two months later, the 2017 low.
Gun makers weren’t the only ones facing a new, unfamiliar reality in 2017. Some of the big box stores made major moves, forever changing the retail landscape for the gun industry.
In September, two iconic outdoor retailers — Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s — became one after finalizing a multi-billion merger initiated in late 2016. With a combined 176 locations across the United States and Canada, the united chains will advance “key conservation initiatives,” CEO Johnny Morris said.
What will become of the 2,000 employees based at the Cabela’s headquarters in Sidney, Nebraska — about six hours west of Omaha — remains a question mark. The retailer employs more than a quarter of the town’s nearly 7,000 residents and economists have warned job cuts will come, but likely not at the store level.
Cabela’s laid off 70 employees in March, though Morris said he wants to retain “a significant presence” in Sidney.
Last year also saw the end of Gander Mountain in August when 162 locations nationwide closed their doors for good after a months-long liquidation sale ended.
Only 57 locations will re-opoen as Gander Outdoors, the re-branded effort led by Camping World CEO and star of “The Profit” Marcus Lemonis.
Gander Mountain, the brainchild of Robert Sturgis, an avid outdoorsman from rural Wisconsin, began in 1960 as a mail-order catalog for other shooting sport enthusiasts. After a 1968 federal law prohibited catalog sales of firearms, Sturgis grew the business to include camping and fishing gear.
Over the years, Gander moved headquarters to Minnesota and, by 2012, had branded itself as “America’s Firearms Superstore,” embarking on an aggressive expansion campaign to open 60 new locations across the country — a move Lemonis said ultimately led to the company’s downfall.
“I spent a day talking to a number of store managers and customers who have said that the current most recent management at Gander got really away from its core customer and really bet a $100 million on guns and was wrong,” he told investors in May. “Terrible, terrible inventory, terrible overhead, and candidly they didn’t need 160 stores.”
Gander Mountain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections in Minnesota court on March 10, indicating its intention to shutter 32 stores in 11 states and liquidate more than $500 million worth of assets.
Camping World, the nation’s largest recreational vehicle dealer, led the investor group that bought out $390 million worth of Gander Mountain assets, including its Overtons boating business, during an April 28 auction for $38 million.
In the weeks following, Lemonis changed the company’s name to Gander Outdoors, crowd-sourced a new logo and maintained an evolving list of surviving locations — down to 57 from a planned 70 — on his Twitter account. Meanwhile, the newly-branded company announced a slew of new product offerings designed to deliver on Lemonis’s promise to offer a larger assortment of guns at better prices.
The first of the reogranized stores opened Dec. 13 in Lakeville, Minnesota. Lemonis said he will open more than a dozen new stores through March 2018, with another 20 or 25 locations to follow through the end of September.
1/02/18 | by Christen Smith
Biden meets with gun ‘stakeholders’ as ‘civil’ sell-outs beginJanuary 10, 2013
By: David Codrea
Joe Biden is meeting throughout the day “with advocates for sportsmen and women and wildlife interest groups as part of the Administration’s effort to develop policy proposals in response to the tragedy in Newtown, the Vice President’s schedule announced today. Among groups known in advance to be attending one of today’s meetings are the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Today’s series of meetings include a different set of what the administration calls “stakeholders.” Yesterday, the Vice President and Attorney General Eric Holder met with what they referred to as “gun safety groups” (even though the organizations in question are not qualified and do not teach gun safety, but rather, are committed gun prohibitionists) and “victims and survivors.”
Likewise, today’s meeting will raise concerns about more than terminology. What gun rights activists will find especially troubling is the premise of the meeting, noting the Second Amendment has nothing to do with sports or wildlife, and particularly noting the disturbing origins of the premise that it does. A true meeting of “stakeholders” would include representatives for those who believe in the unbending of the Founders’ intent for the Second Amendment, who know that it is necessary for the security of a free state, that it shall not be infringed, and who won’t stand for being scapegoated or for citizen disarmament edicts imposed by those who would try.
Meetings and attendees for today, including representatives for retailers and the entertainment industry, were conveyed by a White House official through Michael Scherer of TIME, acting on behalf of the press pool, and include:
11:45 AM: Sportsmen and Women and Wildlife Interest Groups:
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Blue Water Strategies
Bull Moose Sportsmen's Alliance Action Fund
Outdoor Industry Association
Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Wildlife Management Institute
1:45 PM: Gun Owners’ Groups:
Defense Small Arms Advisory Council (DSAAC.)
Firearms Import/Export Roundtable
Independent Firearm Owners Association (IFoA)
National Rifle Association of America
National Shooting Sports Foundation
National Association of Arms Shows
6:00 PM: Representatives from the Entertainment Industry:
Directors Guild of America
Film & Television Alliance
Motion Picture Association of America
National Association of Broadcasters
National Association of Theatre Owners
National Cable and Telecommunications Association
Supplied by the Justice Department:
Today, at 3:15 the Attorney General will meet with retailers as part of the ongoing gun violence sessions being held at the White House by Vice President Biden.
Below is a list of the retailers who will be attendance.
Academy Sports + Outdoors
Bass Pro Shops
Big 5 Sporting Goods
Dick's Sporting Goods
National Retail Federation – (awaiting confirmation)
There are many concerns this list raises, including what else a company like Dick’s is willing to preemptively surrender to further alienate customers who don’t go there for the sport of it.
Also of concern: The attendance of the Independent Firearm Owners Association, headed by Richard Feldman, once a lawyer representing the gun industry who spearheaded the last industry surrender to the White House, and went on to author an expose of his former allies. Who and exactly how many they purport to represent is somewhat of a mystery, but we do know they portray themselves as "moderates," include "a number of retired law enforcement officers" on their board, and boast "There are 15 million self-identified liberals that own guns -- that's four times the size of the NRA."
Last night, Gun Rights Examiner obtained a “boycotted” copy of an IFoA press statement, not authorized for release until 1 p.m., that is, exactly as this is being typed. The complete statement has now been posted on the organization’s website. Aside from calling for “a return to public civility,” it includes a series of measures presented as needed to fight crime, with dangerous concessions made on two fronts.
“Let’s agree that we are united in opposition to the misuse of firearms, especially the access of guns to criminals and mentally unstable individuals,” it recommends, making no mention of how due process will be ensured for the “unstable” so that innocence is presumed as opposed to having to be proven. As Gun Rights Examiner pointed out on Monday, “reforms” in this area could create a blanket dragnet for gun rights disabilities.
“Let’s agree to require the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) at gun shows,” the release further advocates. “NRA’s Wayne LaPierre supported this to Congress back in May 1999. Our proposal is called the Gun Show Preservation and Protection Act of 2013.”
In other words, end the practice of allowing private sellers to attend gun shows.
The IFOA does not explain what it believes ending private sales at gun shows will accomplish, and why, if they think it will reduce violent crime, they have not also called for ending private sales everywhere, and if that will be a concession they intend to make at some later point once this beachhead has been secured. Nor do they explain how this “agreement” squares with delegated enumerated powers of either Congress or the Executive branch under the Constitution, nor if either the Second or Tenth Amendments should be consulted before agreeing to anything.
Nor do they indicate how, with anti-gunners snarling for viscera, civilly throwing them a scrap and giving them a taste of flesh will do anything but encourage the ravenous pack to close in for more.
If NRA and NSSF join in with this divide-and-conquer preemptive surrender, and show anything but strength, gun owners will have an internal problem to resolve when they should instead be working together toward the victory it is within their power to achieve.
UPDATE: The following information just came in from the reporting pool immediately after this article was published and is quoted below:
The VP said he would give POTUS recommendations by Tuesday. "I have committed to him that I will have the recommendations to him by Tuesday."
He mentioned several recommendations to deal with guns that he said he had heard repeatedly from stakeholders. This included what he called "universal background checks, not just closing the gumshoe* loophole." He also mentioned a call do deal with high capacity magazines. And he said, "The last area is the whole subject of the ability of any federal agency to do research on gun violence."
He compared the current limits on federal data gathering with the 1970s restrictions on federal research over the cause of traffic fatalities. He said there was a need to gather information on "what kind of weapons are used most to kill people" and "what kind of weapons are trafficked weapons."
He described his own personal relationship with guns as "an owner of shotguns--I'm no great hunter, it's mostly skeet shooting for me."
He said he was still hoping to have a conference call with gun manufacturers. "There has got to be some common ground, to not solve every problem but diminish the probability" of future mass shootings. "That's what this is all about. There are no conclusions I have reached."
He referred to Newtown, saying, "there is nothing that has pricked the consciousness of the American people" as the image of "little six-year-olds riddled ... with bullet holes in their class."
* "Gumshoe loophole" is a perfect example of "Authorized Journalists" acting as subject matter authorities. Maybe Biden really said it, though. A transcript is said to be forthcoming.
UPDATE: Dave Workman says "The ‘fix’ was in; NRA ‘disappointed’ at meeting."
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