On December 14, 2012, 26 people, including 20 children, were killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The incident is the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, behind the killings at Virginia Tech in 2007. What is particularly heinous about the crime is that many of the victims are prepubescent children. The attacker, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, according to news reports used a Bushmaster XM-15 .223-caliber rifle in the commission of his barbaric act. His mother, who he killed in her sleep, legally obtained the rifle.
Today, the company that owns the company that owns Bushmaster, Cerberus Capital Management LP, has announced it is distancing itself from the situation by selling the Freedom Group of businesses.
According to their website, "Freedom Group is the premier U.S. provider of firearms, ammunition, and related products to a diverse set of global customers and markets. We are dedicated to design excellence, product innovation, speed to market, outstanding customer service and superior quality" They have in recent years bought up most of the big name players in the firearms industry that are not already publicly owned. This has included Remington (who in turns owns Tapco, Remington LE, PMPD, et al), DPMS/Panther Arms, Advanced Armament, Parker-Hale, Dakota Arms, Marlin Firearms (who produces H&R/NEF shotguns and rifles as well), Para USA, and others.
These gun makers are some of the largest and best known in the world. They came on so fast to the market that just a year ago, conspiracy theories abounded that the Freedom Group was being used by forces unseen to shut down the gun industry.
One of the myriad of companies that the Freedom Group acquired is Madison, North Carolina based Bushmaster Firearms. Bushmaster, as you may be aware, is the maker of the AR-style rifle used by Newton, Connecticut rampage killer Adam Lanza in his December 14th attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Newton, founded in 1705, is a small town of just under 28,000 residents. One these residents, according to Business Insider, is Michael Fienberg. Mr. Fienberg's son is the one of the founders of Cerberus (owner of the Freedom Group), Stephen Fienberg. This factor has no doubtt brought this disaster into the Freedom Group's boardroom in a very real way.
In a statement released today, Cerberus said that, "We have determined to immediately engage in a formal process to sell our investment in Freedom Group...We believe that this decision allows us to meet our obligations to the investors whose interests we are entrusted to protect without being drawn into the national debate that is more properly pursued by those with the formal charter and public responsibility to do so,"
Firearms Talk will keep you informed of this story as it develops.