Just one day after a gun control rally in Washington, D.C., firearms manufacturer Remington Outdoor Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing heavy debt load, lawsuits and falling sales, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Remington filed its request in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.
What’s going on?
The legendary firearm manufacturer said last month it was preparing to file for bankruptcy, but delayed filing after 17 students were killed in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
According to the New York Times, the company told the court it has between $100 million and $500 million in debt. The company also estimated assets to be between $100 million and $500 million.
The North Carolina-based company said it plans to continue operations while under bankruptcy protections. It will also continue paying employees and vendors as court proceedings continue.
Remington said they ultimately plan to turn over control of the company to its creditors, according to the WSJ.
What led to Remington's downfall?
Remington, which manufactures primarily rifles, shotguns and ammunition, was acquired by Cerberus Capital Management for $118 million in 2007. Cerberus rolled Remington into a firearms conglomerate and renamed it "Freedom Group."
As the New York Times notes, the move was initially very good for business. But it also came about the time Barack Obama was elected to the White House, which made many Americans fear their Second Amendment rights would be curtailed. Still, business was good.
That all changed in December 2012 when a madman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and murdered 26 people, including 20 children. The killer used a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, which Remington made at the time. Soon after, as the gun control debate fired up, the public placed partial blame on Remington for the massacre.
And so did families who lost loved ones in the massacre. Families of nine victims sued Remington in 2014 alleging the gun manufacturer was at least partially responsible for the mass murder because it made and marketed the AR-15. They alleged the AR-15 is a military rifle not and suitable for the public's use.
Second Amendment enthusiasts anxiously await the decision of that case. Ultimately, the court is deciding whether or not gun manufactures can be held legally responsible for a mass shooting. Obviously, the decision will have wide-reaching ramifications if the court sides with the Sandy Hook families.
An attorney representing the Sand Hook families told The Hill: "We do not expect this filing to affect the families’ case in any material way."
In addition to Sandy Hook, since President Donald Trump took office last year, overall firearm sales are down significantly, possibly because less Americans are afraid their gun rights will be restricted under a Republican president.