Bye-Bye American Pie.

              When I was a kid, my father’s favorite gadget was a hand-held electric drill which he used to make holes in the walls whenever we needed an additional shelf to hold clothing, books, toys, or any other household crap. The drill was made by Remington; that’s right, the same company which made all those rifles and shotguns over the years.

              I don’t know at what point Remington gave up making drills, but I never imagined that the company would ever give up making guns. Guess what? To all intents and purposes, the gun maker founded in 1816 has given up the ghost. Which it looks like may happen now to another iconic gun brand which first started making guns back in 1852.

              Earlier this week, Smith & Wesson announced they were going to dissolve a company formed in 2016 known as American Outdoor Brands (AOBC). This was Smith & Wesson plus a few small companies making gun accessories and other consumer ‘outdoor’ products, but basically it was the Springfield gun maker operating under a different name.  When the bait-and-switch took place in 2016, the company’s stock was selling for $22 a share. Yesterday it closed at $8.36. So much for how Wall Street has reacted to what Jim Dabney, the company President, refers to as the “potential for organic and inorganic growth.”

              Going forward, Smith & Wesson will be a separate company making guns. American Outdoor Brands will focus on building its unique collection of outdoor consumer products with such iconic names as Hooyman and Lockdown.  In case you haven’t heard of these great products, Hooyman makes hand saws used by hunters to build a tree-stand in the woods, Lockdown makes shelving for the interior of gun safes. If you take a look at the brands which comprise the AOBC family, you’ll notice that virtually every product appeals to the same consumers who happen to own guns. Incidentally, when AOBC made its announcement about splitting the two companies, the stock price jumped sky high from $7.90 to $8.46. Now it’s drifting back down to where it belongs.

              What’s really going on here is that the folks who run Smith & Wesson see the handwriting on the wall and the handwriting ain’t good. A big chunk of the company’s revenues come from sales of their AR-15 assault rifles, and following the Supreme Court’s announcement which lets the Sandy Hook lawsuit go forward, at some point this product line may well disappear. The kid who shot himself and five other students yesterday at Saugus High School used a 45-caliber pistol which is the type of weapon on which the entire financial livelihood of S&W and therefore AOBC depends. Think there won’t be a new gun law if Trump and his Senate GOP allies go bye-bye next year? Think again.

              For all the talk about armed, self-defense and how the 2nd-Amendment gives Americans the ‘right’ to own guns, I always thought the gun business was something much more suited to the life I experienced as a kid than the lives that most of us lead now. And while it’s true that as many as 40 percent of American homes contain guns, it’s not as if the number of guns being carried around are even a fraction of the number of people walking around with droids. Last night we were eating dinner in a local restaurant where the dining room contained about 15 tables, and at every table there was at least one person playing around with their phone. How many diners do you figure had guns on their persons? One – me.

              The joke used to be that if you wanted to make a million in the gun business, you had to start with two million.  I’m beginning to think that maybe the joke should go like this: Want to make a million in the gun business? Go into another business. Guns may be as American as apple pie, but many of us are now eating fresh fruit for dessert.

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8 thoughts on “Bye-Bye American Pie.

  1. I think Remington hoist itself on its own petard with its toxic marketing. But I think this lawsuit might put The Fear into more than one company. My suspicion is that a lot of companies will be looking at this lawsuit and seeing immense liabilities. In today’s stockholder environment when the next quarter is the bottom line, it would not surprise me if ARs are suddenly seen as equivalent to a bad dose of the clap rather than a meal ticket.

  2. Thanks for this, Mike. Reducing availability will help but how do we figure out why someone, including teens, would want to shoot another person…

    • Someone tweeted out a 11/14 article in the LA Times “Opinion: There is no single profile of a mass shooter. Our data show there are five types ” but all that did was establish stereotypes that could describe a good part of the population. Problem is, its hard to get into people’s heads. Especially, as in the case with this latest shooter, he did emergency brain surgery on himself. Mike has commented that one of the big omissions is understanding shooters.

      For example, from the article: “…a male (96%) in his 40s who is an employee of the shooting site (78%) and having trouble at work. Workplace shooters don’t have a racial profile (40% white, 30% black, 10% Latino). They tend to use handguns (85%) that they legally own (71%). About 90% of these shootings occur at “blue collar” job sites and 83% of the perpetrators have been recently fired or suspended. …”

      So do we do red flags on any blue collar worker having trouble at work and who owns a gun? Good luck with that as a an appellate judge laughs himself senseless.

      Some shooters fit into nice pigeon holes but the problem is if someone has not done anything rising to the level of a 4473 rejection or red flag court order, you can’t legally sanction them. So the alternative is to make it harder for ANYONE to have a gun without a comprehensive screening, which seems to be the current emphasis of the GVP movement. I get it. That is a reasonable argument although I might disagree with the extreme positions.

      So sure, fewer guns in anyone’s hands means fewer chances for missing an opportunity to stop a good guy going rogue because that good guy doesn’t own a gun. I get it. But then, there is culture and Constitution. After all, the SCOTUS said in Heller that at minimum, we have an individual right to have a gun in the home and sensu lato, the RKBA is an individual right.

      So how did that minor get a gun when CA has the toughest laws in the nation and he was not legally able to have one? Hmmm. Have not heard an answer yet as to why California’s much ballyhooed (By Brady et al) tough gun laws failed again. Has anyone else heard anything including a word or three from his parents, assuming he has more than one? Laws only work when people obey them.

  3. When the “Gun guy” bloviates that The Gun Industry is “Doomed”, just Remember that everything Mike says should be taken with a grain of salt…..

    Like (for example)…

    When he says he owns a “Gun Shop”, he means that his run down shack DOESN’T SELL GUNS but has a sign out front saying that it does….

    When he says that “This column will be my 1,412th piece published on this website since May 2, 2013. It will also be the LAST….”

    He means “I have decided to keep the blog alive but will contribute only an OCCASIONAL column….”

    When he says “OCCASIONAL”, He means At least 3-5 times a week….

    When he says that the average citizen doesn’t know how to SAFELY carry a gun, he means that HE carries a Snubby in the pocket of his overalls WITHOUT A HOLSTER….

    When he says “Assault Rifles” are only good for Killing kids, he means the ones WE own (not the ones HE owns)….

    When he says that he helped write a law in Florida to BAN “Assault weapons”, he means ALL Semiautomatic long guns…

    When you point out that it would indeed BAN ALL Semiautomatic long guns, he says “It’s not supposed to”….

    So, If Mike “The gun guy” says the Gun Industry is Doomed….You know its probably a good time to invest in the gun industry.

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