Sunday, December 21, 2014

Gun revulsion

Post Newtown massacre: Sturm Ruger shares down, Cerebrus dumps Bushmaster maker's stock, Wal-Mart and Dick's pull assault weapons from shelves, Hollywood downgrades Tarantino party and other fantasy death imagery, NRA shuts up, its pals in Congress offer to parley

Gun revulsion

"The Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level," writes buyout investor Cerebrus Capital Management, which is preparing to dump its stock in the company that makes the Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle that was the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooter's weapon of choice from his mom's arsenal.

"The debate essentially focuses on the balance between public safety and the scope of the Constitutional rights under the Second Amendment...

"We are investors, not statesmen or policy makers. Our role is to make investments on behalf of our clients... It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate...

"There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take. Accordingly, we have determined to immediately engage in a formal process to sell our investment in Freedom Group... we will then return that capital to our investors."

Shares of Sturm Ruger, the publicly-traded company that made another of the Newtown killer's guns, are off 7% since the shooting, says Wall St Journal here.

Viacom, Weinstein Co., Showtime and Discovery Channel have all delayed or cancelled violent show or show promotions, reports Bloomberg here.

Dick's Sporting Goods, Pittsburgh, has stopped sales of semi-automatic weapons from its hunting-goods counters, citing the Newton massacre. Brian X. McCrone's story here.

Wal-Mart is also taking some assault weapons off its shelves. (Rival Cabela's, on the other hand, is offering discounts on semi-automatic shotguns and Extreme Shock Handgun Ammo, which "has the ability to penetrate heavy skin and dense bone and then fragment once inside the softer tissue." Cabela's, which used to focus its stores in hunting country, hopes to be selling lots of guns to East Coast residents soon with a new store on I-95 in tax-free Delaware.)

The National Rifle Association, which targets "gun grabbing" politicians and has intimidated Congress and state legislatures to avoid gun control laws, went unusually silent after the Newtown massacre.

Pro-gun Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.) say it's time to talk about gun law reform. Grassley notes it's also a good time to talk about mental health care or the lack of it in this country.

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
Business Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected