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.
For those of us who have grown up with and still hunt with Remington firearms every year, it’s another reminder of how consolidation in the outdoor industry leave no company above risk.
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.
My first deer rifle was a Remington 788, a little 6mm Remington that has collected hundreds of deer, hogs and Texas exotics for our family over the past 50 years.
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.
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.”
Rival gunmaker Colt went through bankruptcy reorganization in 2015.
Pundits suggest that previous administrations that pushed gun control were good for gun sales and President Trump has hurt gun manufacturers as shooters have more confidence their firearms are not at risk. Odds are Remington as a brand will not leave the marketplace anytime soon, but it will certainly continue to evolve under the same market forces that are changing every other industry.
— Lee Leschper