Remington’s chapter 11 bankruptcy filing to restructure the company illustrates the level of distress in the industry as firearms sales decline during the Trump presidency.
For 200 years, Remington has been one of the most famous names in guns, supplying arms to soldiers in the civil war, both world wars and to generations of gun enthusiasts. Now it has met its match: the gun-friendly presidency of Donald Trump, The Guardian reports. After a golden era of sales under President Obama, U.S. gun manufacturers are in trouble. Sales have tumbled, leaving the companies with too much stock on their hands and falling revenues. The crunch claimed its biggest victim this week when Remington filed for bankruptcy. Remington is using a chapter 11 bankruptcy to offload $700 million of its $950 million in debt, and to restructure the company. But it does underscore the level of distress in the industry.
In December, American Outdoor Brands, owner of Smith & Wesson, reported that its profits had fallen 90 percent year over year, from $32 million to just $3.2 million. Sales fell 36 percent. Last October, Sturm Ruger, the largest U.S. firearm manufacturer, said quarterly revenues had fallen 35 percent. “They call it the Trump slump,” said Robert Spitzer of the State University of New York at Cortland, the author of five books on guns. “Gun sales have become politicized to a great degree,” he said. “Gun purchases recently have been made not just because someone wants a new product but to make a statement; not just because of fears that there might be tighter regulation but also to make a statement against Obama.” With Trump in the White House, Spitzer said, gun sales sharply defaulted to their long-term trend of declining ownership rates. The U.S. has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world with 88 guns for every 100 people. Just 3 percent of the population owns an average of 17 guns each, with an estimated 7.7 million super-owners in possession of 140 guns apiece.