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In what could be a major change of direction for America’s oldest maker of firearms, Remington Arms Co. is planning to file for bankruptcy and is in what are described as “advanced talks” to sell the company to Navajo Nation, according to a new report.
Remington filed bankruptcy in 2018, the same year that the Navajo Nation made its previous attempt to buy the company. At the time, the deal was controversial because the Navajo would have dropped Remington’s AR-15 line of semi-automatic rifles, according to The New York Times.
This time around, Remington is making plans for the Navajo Nation “to serve as the lead bidder to purchase Remington’s assets out of chapter 11,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal based its report on individuals it did not name.
The Journal noted that the deal is not cast in stone. It said the Navajo Nation could make its bid as soon as Friday, but also said there is no guarantee the offer will surface at all.
Any bid for the company could be subject to any competing offers that arise as well as approval from bankruptcy court.
Remington was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington. The company currently makes guns in Ilion, New York, and Hunstville, Alabama.
Remington has not only battled the headwinds that have stalked the firearms sector, it has faced a major lawsuit in connection with the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Despite spending millions to ward off the suit, Remington suffered a setback when the Connecticut Supreme Court last year said families can sue Remington for the way in which it marketed the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle used in the shooting.
According to The Times, the Navajo Nation had been ready two years ago to spend between $475 million and $525 million to acquire Remington.
At that time, The Times reported that the Navajo planned to drop the AR-15 line and focus on law enforcement and defense sales.
“Navajo is a community of veterans and people of the land,” the tribe’s lawyer, Drew Ryce, said in an email. “We are indifferent to the AR-15 and happy to leave that business behind.”
Talk of the sale created quite a buzz on Twitter.
Navajo Nation is in the works to purchase Remington and to take away sales of the AR-15 from the general public. Love this and this tribe! https://t.co/rsYupqscVS
— aaron ✊🏼 (@technosailor) June 27, 2020
Something wonderful about this https://t.co/zlqIi1xRWw
— Dr Kazoo (@kgopinion) June 26, 2020
The 2018 vision of the purchase would have moved Remington’s facilities to the sprawling Navajo Nation’s lands that occupy parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
“Navajo has over 70 percent unemployment,” Ryce wrote in 2018. “Over the next few years we would shift the assembly (i.e. lesser trained) parts of the business onto the reservation.”
The next step would be to launch small businesses to make gun parts.
“We would establish this specific machining of specific parts on-reservation and assemble and ship the products on-reservation,” Ryce said.
At the time, the Navajo Nation also expressed an interest in buying Remington to research and develop “smart guns,” which are equipped with technology that prevents anyone but a gun’s owner from using it.