Tags: Gun Control | bushmaster controversy

Bushmaster Controversy: How the Firearms Brand Stirred Up Debate

By    |   Wednesday, 06 May 2015 11:24 AM

Firearms maker Bushmaster was an early player in the marketing of, and the controversy over, “assault-style” firearms, being one of the brands that makes the hotly debated AR-15-style rifle that (sort of) looks like the military M-16.

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The company was in the news when Adam Lanza killed his mother, then used her Bushmaster AR-15 — which the company calls the XM-15 — in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn.,

And, according to The New York Times, the December 2012 murders of grade-school children and their teachers only increased interest in the AR-15.

“The AR-15, it’s kind of fashionable,” a gun shop owner told the paper, a little more than three months after the Newtown shootings. “The young generation likes them, the assault-looking guns.”

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That demand, the Times reported, only went up after Newtown, and retail prices doubled. This happened while Wal-Mart was pulling an ad for a Bushmaster rifle from its Web site and the Dick’s Sporting Goods chain halted the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles out of sensitivity to the Newtown shootings, according to CNN Money.

Meanwhile, Bushmaster is facing challenges on the legal and financial front. A group of Sandy Hook parents sued Bushmaster in December 2014, claiming a gun like the AR-15 shouldn’t even be available to civilians.

However, Bloomberg's Paul Barrett notes victim lawsuits against gunmakers rarely work.  In the case of the Sandy Hook lawsuit, he writes, the parents would be better off focusing on the high-capacity, easily-changeable magazine of the AR-15, which enables the shooter to fire a lot of rounds quickly. The gun itself, though it “looks menacing,” is “shot-for-shot ... actually no more lethal than grandpa’s wooden-stock deer rifle.”

The company faces a financial challenge, too, and one that is fraught with irony. California’s public-school teachers’ union wants its pension fund to stop investing in Bushmaster, which it does indirectly through investment in Cerberus Capital, which owns Freedom Group, which owns Bushmaster. Bloomberg noted that Cerberus Capital wanted to unload Bushmaster soon after Sandy Hook, but as of March 2015, had not found a buyer, according to CNN Money.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.


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Firearms maker Bushmaster was an early player in the marketing of, and the controversy over, “assault-style” firearms, being one of the brands that makes the hotly debated AR-15-style rifle that (sort of) looks like the military M-16.
bushmaster controversy
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2015-24-06
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 11:24 AM
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