Firearms manufacturer Remington Outdoor Company has filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of falling sales and lawsuits stemming from the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday night.
According to the Journal, Remington announced that it would file for Chapter 11 last month but the actual filing was delayed after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people.
The paper reported that Remington officials plan to hand over the reins to its creditors in exchange for writing off most of the company’s debt. Cerberus Capital Management LP bought Remington for $118 million in 2007, assuming $252 million in debt in the process.
Cerberus later formed a holding company called the Freedom Group Inc., consisting of Remington and other firearms manufacturers — including Bushmaster, which Cerberus had purchased in 2006.
The Journal reported that the gun industry is facing low demand and high stock after Donald Trump’s unexpected election to the presidency in 2016. According to the paper, firearms manufacturers boosted output in the run-up to the election, expecting that a Hillary Clinton victory would lead to a boost in sales ahead of tighter gun laws.
In 2016, families of the Sandy Hook victims filed a wrongful-death suit against Remington, claiming that it had negligently marketed “military-style” weapons to younger demographics — namely, 20-year-old Sandy Hook gunman Adam Lanza.
A trial judge dismissed the initial lawsuit, but the plaintiffs appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, which is considering the matter.
Katie-Mesner Hage, an attorney with Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, which represents Sandy Hook families in their lawsuit against the gun manufacturer said in a statement that “We do not expect this filing to affect the families’ case in any material way.”
Founded in 1816, Remington is America’s oldest gun maker.