As sales soar, Bushmaster shrugs at bid to renew gun ban


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Drizzt
May 14, 2003, 06:27 PM
As sales soar, Bushmaster shrugs at bid to renew gun ban


By MATT WICKENHEISER, Portland Press Herald Writer

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Nearly a decade after Bushmaster Firearms and other gun makers lost their fight to block a federal ban on assault weapons, the Windham company has increased its sales by at least 900 percent, erasing fears that the ban would put some manufacturers out of business.

At Bushmaster, revenue is 10 to 15 times what it was before the 1994 law, said Allen Faraday, the company's vice president of administration.

"We adjusted our business as to what was allowed and what wasn't allowed, and we've grown since then," Faraday said. "Basically, what we did was, going forward, we eliminated all of those items that made it a banned firearm."

So, as Congress begins to consider an extension of the assault weapons ban, Bushmaster is largely indifferent. At the same time, some gun-control proponents cite the sniper shootings around Washington, D.C., where a Bushmaster gun was used, as an example of the need to extend such bans.

Legislation has been filed to indefinitely extend the ban, which is set to expire in September 2004.

"Of course we were opposed" to the ban initially, Faraday said. "It was the latest attempt - and a very powerful one - for the anti-gun people to ban firearms. What they do is go after the military, sinister-looking firearms first."

But Bushmaster is less worried about an extension. "From our point of view, extending the ban is probably OK," Faraday said.

In fact, the 77-employee company is so bullish about the future that on Tuesday it announced plans to buy a bankrupt competitor, Professional Ordnance Inc. of Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

Faraday declined to reveal sales figures and is not required to do so because Bushmaster is a private company. However, he said the firm - which makes semi-automatic rifles for civilians, as well as automatic weapons for the military and foreign government agencies - has increased its sales across all markets.

Bushmaster has pushed quality and customer service, Faraday said, while a major competitor, Colt, was having problems in those areas. Colt also lost support from traditional supporters, such as the National Rifle Association, when it agreed with a federal government request to put trigger locks on its guns.

"In terms of non-government sales, we are the largest in the country," said Faraday. "We're much larger than Colt for AR-15-type rifles," a semiautomatic version of the most common military weapon.

An extension of the federal ban has been proposed by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. President Bush has also indicated he would support extending the ban.

According to a statement from Feinstein's office, assault weapons accounted for 8.2 percent of all guns used in crimes in 1993. In 1996, the latest date for which statistics are available, the number dropped to 3.2 percent.

The original ban listed a series of specific firearm models that were prohibited. Bushmaster's AR-15, a civilian version of the M-16, wasn't on the list, said Faraday, and that allowed the company to make product modifications that helped it thrive.

The federal law defined "assault rifle" by characteristics. Bushmaster's weapons included several of the features, including a telescoping stock, threads for a screw-on flash suppressor and a lug for mounting a bayonet, Faraday said.

Bushmaster fought the ban until it was clear the legislation would become law. Then the company began to redesign its AR-15 to comply with the new statute, he said. The changes were all cosmetic and didn't affect the gun's performance, Faraday said. Also, a limit on the size of magazines for the guns lowered the number of rounds to 10 from 30, he said.

Faraday said most of the gun manufacturers made similar changes to their designs, and that he wasn't aware of any business that would suffer if the ban weren't lifted as scheduled.

If the ban is removed, Faraday said a market probably would develop for weapons with the missing modifications, because that would make the guns more like their military cousins.

"I suspect we would respond to the market, and if the market wanted some other rifles in the pre-ban configuration, we would follow the law and we might offer those," said Faraday. "There was nothing we were required to do that would make that rifle safer."

Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both Republicans, have yet to announce their positions on the proposed extension.

The House version of the bill would strengthen the current law by including weapons modified to get around the ban, such as Bushmaster's Superlight Carbine. Faraday said he wasn't familiar with the House bill, but said, "If it makes sense, then we certainly will consider it."

Bill Harwood, president of Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence, said the ban should go further. "It has had some effectiveness, but it's not nearly what it could be," he said.

"Manufacturers are very, very successful at finding ways of getting as close to the line as possible," Harwood said. "Bushmaster's a good example. They've learned how to work around the assault weapons ban and still supply firearms to people who are capable of doing things like those done by the Beltway (Washington) snipers."

Bushmaster made the gun used in the shootings last fall, and the company is facing a lawsuit by relatives of victims. The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, also names the Tacoma, Wash., gun dealer that either sold or lost the rifle, as well as the sniper suspects, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Malvo. Muhammad and Malvo are accused of killing 13 people and wounding five others in Washington, D.C., Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland and Virginia.

Faraday said Bushmaster supports a pending bill that would not only ban lawsuits unless the manufacturer commits a crime, but would also allow for current lawsuits to be dropped after judicial review.

"These are lawsuits that are . . . saying the industry needs to be held responsible for who buys their firearms, and how they're used, marketed, etc.," said Faraday.

The House version of the bill passed 285 to 140, said Faraday, but the Senate version hasn't been heard yet.


http://www.pressherald.com/news/state/030514assault.shtml

They also have a poll on the referenced page as to whether or not you support the AW Ban.

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tyme
May 14, 2003, 06:54 PM
Has Bushmaster read the House bill? Do they realize that if it were to pass, they'd have to compete with traditional hunting rifles without pistol grips, or silly fixed-magazine pistol-grip horrors that are sold in KA?

I think they'd have a major problem if the bill passed.

QuarterBoreGunner
May 14, 2003, 06:55 PM
Ok.

From a pragmatic business standpoint I understand their position.

But I'm appalled at their apathy regarding the extension on the ban:

But Bushmaster is less worried about an extension. "From our point of view, extending the ban is probably OK," Faraday said.

I see a future where Bushmaster makes high quality single shot, break top rubberband guns.

You know, 'cause extending the ban is ok.

David Park
May 14, 2003, 07:03 PM
Bushmaster Firearms has always been a proud and strong supporter of the Second Amendment and an individuals right to access, own and use firearms. Bushmaster has fought the anti-gun movement continually in their constant efforts to eliminate firearms from our society. We have committed a great deal of our resources to support this effort and will continue to do so.

Unfortunately, the anti-gun movement finds a great deal of favor in much of the press with their bias and slanted reporting. Bushmaster has always tried to be open and honest with the press in an effort to help them see the other side and to educate them on the real issues. Often the real story is left out or slanted in an attempt to feed the anti-gun agenda.

In a May 14th article in a local newspaper, regarding the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and its sunset provision, the reporter took totally out of context what Mr. Faraday said and slanted the article in a way that made it appear that Bushmaster was in support of extending the Ban. One of the quotes that was taken out of context and was incomplete was "From our point of view, extending the ban is probably OK, in terms of affecting our sales, but we have always supported legislation protecting gun rights, including the Assault Weapons Ban sunset provision." The reporter asked how Bushmaster dealt with the ban in the first place and how we were able to continue our business. The quote that we would consider supporting the bill that would strengthen the current Assault Weapons Ban law was totally mischaracterized. The discussion was about how far apart the pro-gun groups and the anti-gun groups are in trying to understand each other, and that if the anti-gun groups would propose ideas or suggestions that made sense, then we would consider them, but instead their entire effort is to shutdown the industry.

The firearms industry's ongoing battle with the well-financed anti-gun groups creates an atmosphere of absolute non-understanding and non-compromise on both sides. From the point of view of the firearms industry, it has become an issue of survival. As long as the press continues to distort and slant the issues, and the anti-gun groups are determined to destroy the industry, then there never will be any meaningful discussion of the issues.
http://www.bushmaster.com/

QuarterBoreGunner
May 14, 2003, 07:14 PM
And I read that on Bushmaster site not two minutes ago.

Curse me for a fool. I should really know by now to take ANYTHING that the media puts forth- especially concerning firearms- with a grain of salt.

Roughly the size of the rock of Gibralter.

Can I get a do over?

Jim March
May 14, 2003, 07:15 PM
One issue here is that it's probably best if Bushmaster doesn't get too vocal in support of dumping the ban, because they can be described as having a "financial interest".

Let's be honest here: the moment the ban goes away, 10 years of pent-up demand will all come flooding in at once :D. It'll be a buying frenzy as hasn't been seen in a while. Just in magazines alone, for a lot of guns...be VERY wary of QC issues on the first batches of popular new-production mags for Glocks, Para-ord, Berettas and whatevers.

MikeK
May 14, 2003, 07:47 PM
According to a statement from Feinstein's office, assault weapons accounted for 8.2 percent of all guns used in crimes in 1993. In 1996, the latest date for which statistics are available, the number dropped to 3.2 percent.

Where did she get those numbers?

Standing Wolf
May 14, 2003, 09:48 PM
Where did she get those numbers?

Probably from the Brady bunch's web site. You didn't expect anything even remotely like verifiable data from a leftist extremist, did you?

geekWithA.45
May 15, 2003, 12:07 AM
Do you see the switch n bait in this article?


Oh...the Fienstien bill is merely extending the ban....

(implying, of course, that it's extending the ban under the PREVIOUS terms, not the draconian monstrosity of the NEW terms....)


What was is Lando Calrissian said about Stormtrooper deals? That they get worse and worse each every time you turn around?


Sooner or later, a line is gonna get crossed....

capt_happypants
May 15, 2003, 12:26 AM
I believe Feinstein's numbers were obtained from a dark region, located somewhere below her belt.

UnknownSailor
May 15, 2003, 01:15 AM
Extending the ban is legally impossible. What the dishonorable Senator is trying to do is RENEW the ban. And this time I don't think a 10 year sunset clause will make it into the final version of the bill.

As to the Bushmaster interview, I am not suprised that the representative was quoted out of context. Par for the course as far as the media is concerned.

WilderBill
May 15, 2003, 02:40 AM
Did any of you use the link to vote in the poll???
I found it interesting that even being based in not-so-gun-friendly Maine, it was running 82% against extending the AWB.

general
May 15, 2003, 07:50 AM
I just fired off a couple of e.mails to Matt and his editor, the text of which follows,

I just wanted to comment on Matt Wickenheisers' recent story.
In your Wednesday, May 14, 2003 column, titled "As sales soar, Bushmaster shrugs at bid to renew gun ban" , I just wanted to know... is it your policy or your papers policy to misquote people in "news" stories to slant your coverage to reflect your own or your papers anti-gun policies?
I specifically refer to the following quote,
"But Bushmaster is less worried about an extension. "From our point of view, extending the ban is probably OK," Faraday said."
When actually the full quote was,
"From our point of view, extending the ban is probably OK, in terms of affecting our sales, but we have always supported legislation protecting gun rights, including the Assault Weapons Ban sunset provision."
I don't believe the Portland Press Herald is aware or supports your policy of slanting news coverage to fit a particular political agenda. That is not and should not be the function of a "newspaper".
Was this possibly an oversight on your part? Kind of like your complete lack of journalistic ethics? I hear the N.Y. Times has a position to fill.
Cordially,
XXXXXXXXXXXX
:fire: :evil: :fire:
I won't stand for this kind of bais any longer and neither should anyone else. Everytime I see it, I fire off a letter or e.mail to the offending reporter and his or her editor basically saying "BUSTED!". I want them to know I'm watching them and they aren't going to get away with promoting their agenda as news. I suggest all here start doing the same. Maybe they will get the message, maybe not, but it does make ME feel better.
:banghead: :neener: :banghead: :evil:
Oh yeah.. the poll....
No, I am not in favor of a ban on assault rifles: 83.21%
Yes, I am in favor of a ban on assault rifles: 13.69%
I'd need more information to make a decision: 3.10%
Total Votes: 1227

Leatherneck
May 15, 2003, 08:22 AM
Unfortunately, asking for loyalty to ideals in the business world is like asking for Middle East peace. But I would think they'd be sensitive to the passion surrounding gun rights in this country.

TC
TFL Survivor

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