As It Happens

Why the oldest gun manufacturer in the U.S. is seeking bankruptcy protection

Gun manufacturer Remington has filed for bankruptcy protection — and Donald Trump may be one of the reasons why.

Gun sales have dropped by 10 per cent since U.S. President Donald Trump was elected

Adam Winkler says gun manufacturers like Remington are in seeing a dip in sales as people feel less compelled to buy guns with President Trump in office. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Remington has been making guns in America for more than 200 years. But now, even though the country is bristling with weapons, the company has filed for bankruptcy protection — and Donald Trump may be one of the reasons why.

"[It's] what's known as the "Trump Slump," Adam Winkler told As It Happens host Carol Off. "Gun sales are down more than 10 per cent since the election of Donald Trump, as fears of new gun control laws have receded."

Winkler is a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles and the author of Gunfight: The Battle Over The Right To Bear Arms In America

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, holding a custom 300 Remington gun during an auction. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

Even though demand is down, Winkler points out that the gun industry is still a profitable business and part of Remington's problems are due to mismanagement of the company.

But poor business decisions have only been compounded by Trump's presidency as the threat of certain guns being banned is no longer a pressing issue for gun owners.

"Concerns about new gun control laws waned and, as a result, the desire, for many people, to rush out and buy guns they thought were going to be banned, has waned too," Winkler said. 

The company that owns Remington has been trying to sell the business since a gunman used its Bushmaster rifle in the deadly school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. 

"They are facing some lawsuits as a result of that," Winkler said. "The law provides very vibrant protections for gun makers so even though they've faced a big lawsuit they're not likely to lose that lawsuit in the end."

The company is also facing a litigation over gun defects that caused some of their weapons to misfire.

Winkler says calls for gun control laws might actually encourage Americans to buy more guns in fear of bans on certain weapons. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Last weekend, hundreds of thousands of young people across the United States protested the proliferation of guns in the March for Our Lives rally.

Winkler questions whether these renewed calls for gun control laws will actually lead to an increase in gun sales and a profit spike for manufacturers like Remington.

"That's one of the ironies of gun control. When new gun control laws are proposed, potential gun owners go out and buy." 

Winkler says gun sales have dropped by 10 per cent during Donald Trump's presidency. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press)

Despite the dip in demand, Americans bought an estimated 25 million guns last year and Winkler says these guns are increasingly being purchased by a smaller number of people.

"The percentage of homes with guns in them is steadily decreasing. But yet, gun sales are skyrocketing, suggesting that fewer and fewer people are buying more and more guns, creating what we call mega owners or super gun owners," Winkler said.

"The truth is that in America, where guns are legal, there's just a lot of people who love to go out and shoot recreationally. They go out to the gun range on Saturday the way, I don't know, my grandfather went to the golf course every Saturday."


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