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Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:00 PM

The Freedom Group

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 American 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.


The big-money buyout firm behind Bushmaster and many other gunmakers is getting out of the firearms business—and thanks may be due to public-sector workers in one of America's bluest states.

Chances are you didn't even know that Cerberus Capital Management, the Dan Quayle-employing, Manhattan-based private equity group that famously took a bath on Chrysler during the auto bailout, owned 15 gun manufacturers with $238 million in total sales last quarter—including Bushmaster, which produced the assault rifle that was Adam Lanza's weapon of choice in Newtown last Friday. Cerberus managed this "family of companies" through a shell called Freedom Group, which grew so large that some rank-and-file NRA members feared a mysterious anti-gun purchaser was buying up the companies just to shut them down.

The NRA eventually issued a statement vouching for Cerberus, writing that the "owners and investors involved are strong supporters of the Second Amendment and are avid hunters and shooters." That may be true, but now they're getting out of the gun business. Even private equity investors have to answer to their funders, and one of Cerberus' biggest investors said Monday that after the Newtown shooting, it was "reviewing its investment" in the group. That investor is the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), which has pumped $751.4 million into Cerberus, according to Reuters. Perhaps public school teachers in San Pablo and Reseda don't want to pad their retirements by investing in Remington, Barnes Bullets, and Advanced Armaments.*


And in related news...

While concern from Cerberus’s investors — as well as a swirl of media attention — had an impact on the decision to sell, the leadership of the private equity firm debated through the weekend how to respond to the tragedy and its potential fallout, according to a person familiar with the firm’s discussions. On Monday evening, a small group of Cerberus’s top executives sat around a conference room table and weighed a range of options to respond to the tragedy, including making a large donation to the Newtown community or promoting mental health research and education.

Ultimately, Cerberus decided to make a clean break and sell the gun company. “We believe that this decision allows us to meet our obligations to the investors whose interests we are entrusted to protect without being drawn into the national debate that is more properly pursued by those with the formal charter and public responsibility to do so,” the firm said in its statement.

It is not clear whether Mr. Feinberg will find a ready buyer for the Freedom Group. Over the last two days, shares of the publicly traded American gunmakers, Sturm, Ruger & Company and Smith & Wesson, have dropped precipitously on fears of increased gun regulation. Several foreign gun manufacturers, including Forjas Taurus of Brazil and Heckler & Koch of Germany, could be possible acquirers, according to a banker familiar with the weapons industry.

Cerberus said it would retain a financial adviser to sell its interests in the Freedom Group and then return the sale proceeds to its investors.


Something to keep an eye on, something this big doesn't just disappear overnight...

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Response to Earth_First (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:33 PM

1. Probably the group Rand Paul & his libertea types are helping with a Pledge of Allegiance to guns

that Paul is trying to force on the Senate, to keep the US out of UN treaties controlling the flow of weapons into 3rd World countries, a la Fast and Furious.

I'm having trouble finding previous pages I have seen with this info, I'll look again later, but it is mentioned here:


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Response to patrice (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:37 PM

2. Fascinatingly frightening statistics in your link...

Thanks for the link.

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:05 AM

3. Yes, I knew someone who was passing around the original Rand P link to the petition supporting

Paul's bill in the Senate. I think there is something in THOMAS too.

I read him the riot act good about interfering in situations in which US Troops would very possibly be ordered in, since they all think the UN is so evil, so our troops could get screwed AGAIN for Wars 'r' U.S., not to mention poor little kids in other countries that get caught between U.S. and whoever the next bin Laden is and the someone-I-knew absolutely could NOT be budged on the issue one iota. Creepy guy! He left here earlier this year, hearsay was that he went to South Dakota.

Going to go check THOMAS and elsewhere for more info about what Paul is up to in the Senate. I saw plenty about it the last time I looked, but didn't see that much a while ago. Do people scrub the net for that kind of stuff?

Here's a research resource on hate groups and racism. It's a guy who has dedicated his whole life to the subject and recently has been working on documenting the family tree of the Tea Party, which includes Freedom Works, btw, not sure if there's any connection, but it would be interesting to look into.

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Response to Earth_First (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:18 AM

4. You can only contact them through their website...

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