It has been said that times of uncertainty are a gun seller’s best friend, and 2020 has been a year of uncertainty like never before and the firearms industry has seen the sales to match it. The FBI had conducted 3.9 million background checks in June—a key indicator of sales—and that eclipsed the previous record in March of 3.7 million criminal background checks to see if a firearm could be legally purchased or possessed.
At the halfway mark of the year, there have been more than nineteen million checks conducted—more than all of 2012 or any year prior, going all the way back to when the system was created in November 1998. It is also expected that July will be another strong month for firearms sales in the United States.
However, not every manufacturer of firearms has seen the gravy train pull into the station. This week Remington Arms Company, the 204-year-old gun-maker and one of the best-known brands in the industry filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court in Alabama. This is the second time since 2018 that the company has sought to restructure amidst its ongoing legal and financial challenges. Sales never sufficiently rebounded after the company emerged from that first bankruptcy.
America’s oldest gun manufacturer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy just days after the apparent collapse of talks between Remington and Navajo Nation, which had reportedly been seeking to purchase the firm’s assets and allowed Remington to shed its liabilities, CNBC reported on Tuesday. According to court filings, Remington estimated it has between one thousand and five thousand creditors and it has listed both assets and liabilities as being between $100 million and $500 million.
The company had previously filed for bankruptcy in 2018, citing declining sales during the so-called “Trump slump,” which occurred due to the fact that President Donald Trump’s administration has been perceived to be pro-gun—especially when compared to the terms of former President Barack Obama, who was at times called the firearm industry’s best salesman.
As NPR also reported, gun safety advocates and opponents of the Second Amendment have been applying pressure on retailers and investors since the 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida where seventeen students and faculty were killed. A Supreme Court ruling in 2019 also allowed families of those killed at the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, to move forward with lawsuits against Remington.
The company’s popular Model 700 rifle has also been in the spotlight for the past decade for safety issues—and Remington was forced to issue a voluntary recall for the Model 700 as well as the Model Seven rifles that were manufactured over an eight-year period. At the heart of the problem was an issue with the XMP triggers, which could under certain circumstances unintentionally discharge.
Despite these issues, Remington has remained America’s oldest gun-maker, and the company was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington II in Ilion, New York. Over the past two hundred years, it has also grown to become the largest U.S. producer of shotguns and rifles.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.