Every week or so the New York Times provides another opportunity for gun rights advocates to give the left-leaning paper the “pitchfork and torches” treatment. Today’s Sunday Business section article on the Freedom Group—“the most powerful and mysterious force in the American commercial gun industry today”—is only something of an exception. While the article is surprisingly short on subtle hints about how we’re all idiots for owning guns or why all guns should be banned, the Gray Lady couldn’t entirely resist the urge to, as RF says, “put the boot in” . . .

Unlike military counterparts like automatic M-16’s, rifles like those from Bushmaster don’t spray bullets with one trigger pull. But, with gas-powered mechanisms, semiautomatics can fire rapid follow-up shots as fast as the trigger can be squeezed. They are often called “black guns” because of their color. The police tied a Bushmaster XM15 rifle to shootings in the Washington sniper case in 2002.

Which means what? That the Times is obsessed with the Washington sniper case (they mention it again). It seems that the Freedom Group is equally focused. They want to sell you a gun! Well, not you. You already have one.

True, the N.R.A. estimates that about 70 million to 80 million Americans collectively own 300 million firearms. But how many of those people buy new guns regularly? For companies like the Freedom Group, the challenge is to expand the market. These days, more women are involved in target shooting, according to participation reports from the National Sporting Goods Association. But, analysts say, many young men who in the past might have taken up game hunting are now more interested in other pursuits like online gaming.

Yes, there is doom and things go boom in Cerberus’ lab.

Some analysts say tactical rifles have peaked, that the market has topped out, and that small, concealable handguns are the way forward for the near future. And yet, after a tough 2010, gun sales at the Freedom Group were up 5.6 percent during the first nine months of this year, although the company reported a net loss of $6.3 million for the same time period, according to the company’s most recent earnings report.

The bottom line certainly telling: banking a loss in a up market is something of an accomplishment for this mysterious, non-Sorosian powerhouse. A failure whose roots can be found in TTAG’s coverage of Feinberg’s folly. Never mind, back to a little assault weapons bashing . . .

Bushmaster was among the first to sell ordinary people on weapons that look and feel like the ones carried by soldiers. Today many gun makers have embraced military-style weapons, a major but controversial source of growth for the commercial gun market, says Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, a research group that backs gun control.

“It’s clear that the militarized stuff is the stuff that sells and is defining the industry,” Mr. Diaz says.

As always, the Times views the firearms industry as some sort of cancer. And substitutes stats and quotes for genuine insight. Still, it could have been worse. And no doubt will be, again, soon. Good thing this article was published on Sunday, when the Times’ readership is at its peak.

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12 Responses to NY Times: The Freedom Group’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Choose

  1. “Too bad it was published on Sunday, when the readership is at its lowest point.”

    Too bad it was published in the New York Times, whose circulation is plunging almost as quickly as its credibility.

  2. Mr. Feinberg turned his investors 7.4 billion dollar investment in Chrysler into 1.4 billion, and if he brings these same investment skills to the gun industry we’re all screwed. The gun grabbers must be hoping and praying that he falls flat on his face, but I really hope he turns it into a big success.

  3. I would wager that Freedom Group will go after a fair sized hand gun manufacturer as the article stated. They could probe some older Remington hand gun designs, but that would be too limited.
    I think Freedom Group makes iffy quality guns, but they do have a lot of good designs to draw from. It seems that they are going to strengthen their QC Department, which for them would be a good thing.
    I would agree that in the gun market, things overall will be sort of flat in the private sector growth wise.
    I can see a lot of growth in the military sectors though. Sales to Mexico?

  4. I really sort of wonder about Colt. They really bet everything on the military, and with the political pull that Freedom Group brings to the table, the future could be rather dim for them.
    I know the military has had several comparison tests and I think they would like to get away from 9mm and maybe get a more reliable replacement for the M16. The old M-14s will not last forever as more are being pulled out of mothballs and being refurbished for the Mid-East. At some time, that rifle will have to be replaced as well.
    Freedom Group would be in a very good position to answer all the above needs if they had more up to date hand gun designs.

  5. “Too bad it was published on Sunday, when the readership is at its lowest point.”

    As every former paperboy knows, Sunday is by far the biggest circulation day. According to the AP, the NYT’s weekday circulation is around 875K, while its Sunday circulation is around 1.4 million. That’s a typical ratio for a big city daily.

  6. I didn’t see any comments in the story from pro-gun groups, heaven forbid another side of the story be presented by The Times.

  7. Let’s all (virtually) hold hands and pray to Neptune. Maybe he’ll send a real hurricane and wash New Yaawk clean.

  8. Bushmaster was among the first to sell ordinary people on weapons that look and feel like the ones carried by soldiers.

    Seriously? So the ads for surplus British Enfield, Mauser, Moisin (and other) rifles in every single 1955, ’56 & ’57 issue of Guns Magazine are figments of our imagination? I could have continued checking, but I think I’ve made the point. As for those antis who claim our (gunnies) rhetoric is over the top, check out the opening paragraph from the article “Why Not Have a PRO Gun Law?” in the 9/57 issue:

    THE ANTI-GUN LAWMAKERS are having a brisk season for 1957. With the practical nature of Andrew Volsteads and the subtlety of Carrie Nations they have attacked the root of all evil and the ills of mankind by the simple expedient of trying to take away all guns. Recently proposed Treasury regulations came close to this ideal; they could have destroyed the firearms industry and the shooting sport. Under the guise of protecting the people, these makers of rules who push anti-gun bills such as these are forging weapons, not into ploughshares, but into an iron collar of restraint, worthy of a fascist state.”

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