Reports that a mysterious company has been buying up U.S. gun manufacturers have been popping up on the internet for several months. When we first learned of the possibility that a single company was rapidly acquiring companies like Bushmaster, Remington, and Marlin Firearms we immediately suspected that something was amiss. Apparently, we were not alone, because others were thinking the same thing.
One rumor that popped up was that global financier George Soros, historically an anti-gun advocate, was behind the moves, and that he was positioning the gun industry to reduce pro-gun lobbying efforts. This prompted the National Rifle Association to step in to assure American gun owners that this wasn’t a behind the scenes coup. “The owners and investors involved are strong supporters of the Second Amendment and are avid hunters and shooters,” the NRA said in a statement.
While Soros may not be involved, the New York Times identified the company making the acquisitions as an obscure organization known as The Freedom Group, which is managed by multi-billion dollar investment firm Cerberus Capital Management:
In recent years, many top-selling brands – including the 195-year-old Remington Arms, as well as Bushmaster Firearms and DPMS, leading makers of military-style semiautomatics – have quietly passed into the hands of a single private company. It is called the Freedom Group – and it is the most powerful and mysterious force in the U.S. commercial gun industry today.
Never heard of it?
You’re not alone. Even within gun circles, the Freedom Group is something of an enigma. Its rise has been so swift that it has become the subject of wild speculation and grassy-knoll conspiracy theories. In the realm of consumer rifles and shotguns – long guns, in the trade – it is unrivaled in its size and reach. By its own count, the Freedom Group sold 1.2 million long guns and 2.6 billion rounds of ammunition in the 12 months ended March 2010, the most recent year for which figures are publicly available.
Behind this giant is Cerberus Capital Management, the private investment company that first came to widespread attention when it acquired Chrysler in 2007. (Chrysler later had to be rescued by taxpayers). With far less fanfare, Cerberus, through the Freedom Group, has been buying big names in guns and ammo.
From its headquarters in Manhattan, Cerberus has assembled a remarkable arsenal. It began with Bushmaster…
After Bushmaster, the Freedom Group moved in on Remington, which traces its history to the days of flintlocks and today is supplying M24 sniper rifles to the government of Afghanistan and making handguns for the first time in decades. The group has also acquired Marlin Firearms, which turned out a special model for Annie Oakley, as well as Dakota Arms, a maker of high-end big-game rifles. It has bought DPMS Firearms, another maker of semiautomatic, military-style rifles, as well as manufacturers of ammunition and tactical clothing.
“We believe our scale and product breadth are unmatched within the industry,” the Freedom Group said in a filing last year with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Why Cerberus went after gun companies isn’t clear. Many private investment firms shy away from such industries to avoid scaring off big investors like pension funds.
…Whatever the reason, Cerberus, through the Freedom Group, is now a major player.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle via The New York Times
While Cerberus may be acting purely from a business perspective in acquiring some of the largest and oldest gun manufacturers in America and they may have the best of intentions, we remain cautious about the New York Times’ interpretation of events (especially when we see the same news report republished in their sister magazine in San Francisco). It is, after all, the New York Times, a left leaning media organization that has long advocated, either directly or indirectly, restrictive gun legislation that runs counter to the Second Amendment.
Anytime a single company acquires most of the major players in an industry – and the most liberal leaning media outlet in the world plays it off as no big deal – it should be cause for contemplation. For all we know, the Freedom Group is intent on centralizing gun lobbying efforts into one organization. We’ve seen this kind of double speak before, and while the Freedom Group leaves a positive feel, so too does the “Patriot Act” until you get past the cover. If it turns out to be the gun industry equivalent of a Trojan Horse, and Freedom Group management is embedded with anti-Second Amendment leadership, then the risk becomes that Congressional lobbying efforts to expand gun freedoms could be muted and restrictive legislation enacted as a result. There would, in essence, be no one left in American industry to fend off an attack on the second amendment.
We are, of course, speculating about the motivations of the Freedom Group’s parent company Cerberus Capital Management, but for conspiracy’s sake we’ll note that Cerberus is a mythical creature employed as Hades’ loyal watchdog to guard the gates to the underworld. This begs the question: Is the Freedom Group guarding and preserving the peoples’ right to bear arms (which seems to be the case), or are they the watchdogs for someone else, simply positioning the chess pieces for when the time is right?
Hat tip BJ