For the head of the pro-gun-control Violence Policy Center (VPC), bad news in the gun industry is good news for his cause. Writing for The Huffington Post, Josh Sugarmann announces, and then celebrates, the end of the Obama gun boom. He bases his case on SEC filings by the Freedom Group (Remington, Marlin, Harrington & Richardson, New England Firearms, L.C. Smith, Dakota Arms, Advanced Armament Corporation and Barnes Bullets). The money shot:
Our industry also experienced an increase in certain firearms demand between late 2008 and mid 2009. In the first quarter of 2010, sales in our firearms segment have softened from the levels experienced during that period. Demand for higher end centerfire rifles has softened and sales have transitioned to more moderately priced firearms, which has resulted in an overall sales decrease of 21.7% in our firearms segment during the three months ended March 31, 2010 versus the three months ended March 31, 2009 . . .
Net sales for the three months ended March 31, 2010 were $94.7 million, a decrease of $26.3 million, or 21.7%, as compared to the three months ended March 31, 2009. Centerfire rifle sales decreased by $24.2 million, or 27.8%, as compared to the prior-year period, primarily due to reduced sales demand for modern sporting products [assault rifles]. Shotgun sales decreased by $1.2 million, or 4.9%, as compared to the prior-year period. Rimfire rifle sales decreased by $1.0 million, or 14.4%, as compared to the prior-year period.
Yes, but—The Freedom’s Group may not be the industry bellwether. Lest we forget, owners Cerberus screwed the proverbial pooch with Chrysler. In the Freedom Group’s case, Cerberus has installed another General Electric Six Sigma guy (Ted Torbeck) at the helm of another large company with multiple sub-brands in an industry about which he knew sweet FA. And, once again, Feinberg’s guys bought a company saddled with debt ($276.5 million)—just as sales have peaked.
We’ll keep an eye on the Freedom train for you. As will, no doubt, Mr. Sugarmann.