Remington, the oldest American gun manufacturer, is filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. But this story might be more than a story of bankruptcy for a poorly-run gun manufacturing company.
It might also be a story of how the use of lawfare (using laws to attack your political enemies) might be at least a factor in this bankruptcy.
Here are three stories, starting with the most recent story of the bankruptcy filing, and two stories about the ongoing effort by well-funded Sandy Hook families attempting to sue Remington because a Remington-manufactured gun was used in that shooting.
If this case ever bears fruit, the ‘legal’ gun manufacturing market will essentially be dead in America, as the liability costs on manufacturers will destroy their businesses.
Firearms maker Remington Outdoor Co. sought bankruptcy protection Sunday, in the face of a heavy debt load, falling sales and lawsuits tied to Sandy Hook school shooting.
Remington filed for chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., with plans to hand over control of the company to its creditors — including Franklin Resources Inc. BEN, +1.68% and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s JPM, +2.48% asset-management division — in exchange for wiping much of its debt from its balance sheet.
The chapter 11 filing, announced last month, was delayed after a Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead and reawakened the national debate surrounding gun regulations, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
Founded in 1816, Remington is one of America’s oldest and largest gun and ammunition manufacturers. The Madison, N.C., company plans to continue operations and paying its vendors and employees while under bankruptcy protection.
The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on Nov. 14 in the closely watched case involving the families of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre who are suing the gun manufacturer that makes the weapon used in the shootings.
The families of 10 victims filed the lawsuit in January 2015, seeking to hold the Remington Outdoor Co. liable for the massacre because it marketed a gun to the public it knew was made for military use.
Adam Lanza shot his way into the Newtown school on Dec. 14, 2012, and fired 154 bullets in about five minutes from a Bushmaster AR-15, killing 26 people, including 20 first-graders.
The lawsuit also named Camfour Holding LLP, the gun’s distributor, and Riverview Gun Sales Inc., the East Windsor gun shop where Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, bought the AR-15.
But the lawsuit was dismissed by Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis, forcing the families to appeal to the state’s highest court.
In her written ruling, Bellis agreed with attorneys for Remington that the lawsuit “falls squarely within the broad immunity” provided to gun manufacturers and dealers by federal law, specifically the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. She dismissed the case against Remington and Camfour.
The families hit another roadblock when the same judge dismissed the suit in the fall of 2016. But the plaintiffs kicked the case up to the Connecticut Supreme Court on appeal, where a panel of judges are still waiting to decide if a creative legal argument might get the claim around the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA.)
Basically, the lawyers for the families have tried to claim two exceptions to that law. One is that the sale of the AR-15 to shooter Adam Lanza’s mom violated a state law; the second has to do with how the gun has been advertised. Although the judges could decide whether the exceptions are valid at any time, Remington recently announced it was planning to file for bankruptcy, adding another wrinkle to an already-strange legal saga.