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Gander Mountains across the country closed their doors for good Sunday after the months-long liquidation sale ended.
Less than half of the sporting goods chain’s 162 locations will reopen later this year as Gander Outdoors, the re-branded effort led by Camping World CEO and star of “The Profit” Marcus Lemonis.
Gander Mountain, the brainchild of Robert Sturgis, an avid outdoorsman from rural Wisconsin, began in 1960 as a mail-order catalog for other shooting sport enthusiasts. After a 1968 federal law prohibited catalog sales of firearms, Sturgis grew the business to include camping and fishing gear.
Over the years, Gander moved headquarters to Minnesota and, by 2012, had branded itself as “America’s Firearms Superstore,” embarking on an aggressive expansion campaign to open 60 new locations across the country — a move Lemonis said ultimately led to the company’s downfall.
“I spent a day talking to a number of store managers and customers who have said that the current most recent management at Gander got really away from its core customer and really bet a $100 million on guns and was wrong,” he told investors in May.”Terrible, terrible inventory, terrible overhead, and candidly they didn’t need 160 stores.”
Gander Mountain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections in Minnesota court on March 10, indicating its intention to shutter 32 stores in 11 states and liquidate more than $500 million worth of assets.
Camping World, the nation’s largest recreational vehicle dealer, led the investor group that bought out $390 million worth of Gander Mountain assets, including its Overtons boating business, during an April 28 auction for $38 million.
In the weeks following, Lemonis changed the company’s name to Gander Outdoors, crowd-sourced a new logo and maintained an evolving list of surviving locations — down to 57 from a planned 70 — on his Twitter account. Meanwhile, the newly-branded company announced a slew of new product offerings designed to deliver on Lemonis’s promise to offer a larger assortment of guns at better prices.
“Well, we are going to have a selection of handguns and shotguns that we believe serve the need of the market and have margins that are commensurate with our expectations,” he told investors in May. “But I would expect that in those stores, we’re going to see an expansion of fishing, potentially getting back into the live bait business and really digging into what the consumer wanted.”
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More than two dozen illegal aliens were detained at the California-Mexico border in Otay Mesa, California, early Saturday morning, but the discovery of the group also turned up an underground tunnel.
“While subterranean tunnels are not a new occurrence along the California-Mexico border, they are more commonly utilized by transnational criminal organizations to smuggle narcotics,” the U.S. Customs and Border Protection wrote in a news release. “However, as this case demonstrates, law enforcement has also identified instances where such tunnels were used to facilitate human smuggling.”
Authorities say a few of the illegal aliens were spotted after they crossed the border just after 1:00 a.m. Once caught, several tried to turn back and escape back into the tunnel. Altogether, 30 people were detained, 23 of whom are Chinese nationals and the remaining seven are Mexican nationals. The group was made up of 25 men and five women.
The group remains in custody and the investigation ongoing.
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An attempted home invasion robbery in Johnson City, Tennessee, last week ended with an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and the homeowner, and the suspect eventually behind bars after showing up at a local hospital seeking treatment for a gunshot wound.
Christopher Lamar Moore, Jr., 19, of Greeneville, Tennessee, was arrested and charged with especially aggravated robbery the day after allegedly committing the crime.
An investigation revealed that Moore broke into 22-year-old Kenneth Minasian’s home, which is located about 100 miles east of Knoxville, and attempted to rob him at gunpoint, according to a press release from the Johnson City Police Department. However, there was an exchange of gunfire between the two men, and both were wounded.
Authorities received an emergency call about the shooting just after midnight on Aug. 21. When officers arrived on the scene, they found Minasian lying on the kitchen floor of his home. Minasian was suffering from a gunshot wound to his torso and was transported to Johnson City Medical Center by EMS.
Moore fled from the home before responding officers arrived, but evidence collected at the scene indicated he was wounded before fleeing.
Minasian was initially listed in serious condition, the Johnson City Press reported, but his current condition is unknown.
About an hour after police were called, Moore showed up at a different hospital with a gunshot wound to his forearm. He was treated and, upon his release, was taken to jail.
Moore is being held at the Washington County Detention center on a $50,000 bond.
Authorities did not say whether Moore left the home empty-handed or if the robbery was believed to be random or targeted.
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A wall inside the dressing room of a store in an Atlanta mall was left with minor damage Wednesday evening after an 8-year-old boy found a loaded handgun and his mother pulled the trigger to determine whether it was real.
Only one shot was fired from the .22-caliber handgun – which was, indeed, real – but no one was injured.
According to the Atlanta Police Department, the incident at Lenox Square happened just before 6 p.m. The boy said he found the gun under a bench and thought it was a toy. His mother, on the other hand, wasn’t sure, so she pulled the trigger.
Jim Hinsdale, manager at Chuck’s Firearms, an Atlanta area gun shop, said while it’s not surprising individuals unfamiliar with firearms might question whether a gun is real, he doesn’t advise pulling the trigger for verification.
Lenox Square management said in an emailed statement to local media they are thankful there wasn’t any injuries and they are “working closely with the Atlanta Police Department to share any information that may be helpful.”
No charges have been filed at this time, but the incident remains under investigation.
[ 11 Alive ]
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The vice president of Glock, Inc. called the government’s decision to select a competitor’s design for the Army’s new official sidearm — the now infamous Sig P320 design — a “disservice” to U.S. servicemen.
“If you’re asking me my opinion, I’ll go out on a limb and say I think it was a bad decision,” said Josh Dorsey, Glock vice president. “I think in my humble opinion it was a disservice to the guys on the ground. It’s not about getting the best weapon, it was all done for economic reasons. They (the Army) have the right to make that decision.”
Dorsey made the statement during a press junket on Aug. 1, the same week safety issues involving the P320 surfaced. The meeting was to discuss Glock’s new Gen 5 models, designs largely influenced by the company’s military prototype and similar products.
Dorsey’s comments concluded a description of Glock’s participation in the Army’s Military Handgun System competition, which spanned several years and forced participants to navigate complex bureaucratic regulations in return for a lucrative contract and bragging rights. His company protested Sig’s award by filing a complaint to the Government Accountability Office, but the office dismissed the challenge three months later.
Dorsey described the selection process, saying it begins with the government screening submissions for desired features. Then, for the handguns that did, they advanced to “more expensive, more elaborate testing” by the government, Dorsey said.
“We came to the end of phase one, what I call phase one, which is, how you say, the touchy-feely stuff to 1,500 rounds through the weapons [to test] reliability until there’s two of us left standing,” he said, adding those remaining included the Sig P320 and Glock MHS model.
“When you get into the second phase of tests, that’s when the Glock material differentiates itself from the other candidate systems — by a lot,” Dorsey said. “You get into mean rounds between stoppages when you’re shooting 35,000 rounds through six guns and how long it’ll last and how long it’ll maintain accuracy than you get you get into material differences between the guns.”
Dorsey said once the government completed the examination of both handgun designs, the decision came down to price. “It was a hundred-million-dollar difference between us and them. We lowered our price pretty well, so you get to take whether the price they put forward to get a hundred-million-dollar difference was sustainable or reasonable. That I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know what they offered, but I know what we offered.”
“We weren’t allowed to go to the next phase of testing, which would have allowed us, I believe in my heart, to differentiate ourselves from them,” he said. “So, there you have it. The economic world.”
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Ordered into the streets by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, forces loyal to President Nicolas Maduro’s government drilled with some very well cared for WWII-era rifles.
As reported by the AP, some 900,000 soldiers and members of civilian militia took part in military drills over the weekend in response to sanctions from the U.S. as a result of a government crack down on opposition groups.
While in recent weeks Maduro’s son has threatened to “take the White House” with guns blazing and the Latin American country has a significant arsenal that includes 5,000 shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles and a licence to manufacture AK-103s, the armed militia show in the AP’s photos would be more at home in the Battle of Stalingrad.
Designed in 1891, the Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle predates the Ford Model T by more than a generation, but with over 40 million produced they are one of the most prolific weapons in existence. While prices on the humble 7.62x54R rifle bottomed out at about $39 when millions of surplus guns were sold on the open market following the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, they are climbing again as the overseas sources are drying up.
But don’t worry, the Venezuelan Mosins were carefully returned to their shipping crates, for the next photo-op or eventual disposal on the surplus market again in another generation following a potential regime change.
Founded in 2009 by President Hugo Chavez, the 400,000-strong Bolivarian Militia is a political army commanded directly by the president. Maduro has beefed up the force in recent months and plans to enroll as many as 1 million supporters in the organization.
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Following a campaign by gun rights groups, Utah lawmakers want answers on how state officials bumped up permit costs this month without first going through them.
The Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification increased the cost of an initial concealed firearm permit for residents from $37 to $57, adding a $20 fee to process fingerprint through a state system. Lawmakers last week contend the regulatory agency may have gone too far.
“What we can’t allow is unilateral decisions by administrative action in lieu of appropriate action,” said state Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove.
BCI argues the fee change was authorized by a 2015 law establishing a $20 fee to process background check fingerprint cards for submission to the FBI’s Rap Back System on school employees. BCI officials say applying the extra fee for gun permits was simply missed for the past two years, a correction the agency made moving forward.
The base $25 firearm permit application fee ($35 for non-residents) and $12 FBI background check fee remain were unchanged, with the only addition being the $20 fee to scan and process fingerprints through a state database.
Driven largely by non-resident applications in a state with a population of just over 3 million, the number of active concealed carry permits in the state topped a record 633,000 last year.
A 2015 survey by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that licensing fees vary widely across the nation from a low of $10 in South Dakota to over $150 in Illinois, putting Utah’s fee on the low-end of the spectrum. The report also found that each $10 increase in fees reduces the percentage of adults with permits by about half a percentage point.
Second Amendment supporters contend that if a fee increase was justified, it should be run through the Utah Legislature first.
“There have been times in the past when CFP fees were being used to fund government programs unrelated to the issuance of these permits,” said the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action in a statement issued earlier this month. “To ensure that won’t happen again, the appropriate process for proposed fee increases is to be run through the legislative process where bright lights can be shined on the data and information can be provided by state agencies.”
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A 52-year-old man was arrested Saturday after authorities received a video showing the man fire a single shot during the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville earlier this month.
Richard Wilson Preston is charged with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school and being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center.
The gunfire unfolded as tensions mounted between white nationalists and counter protesters during the Aug. 12 “Unite the Right” rally in Emancipation Park. Authorities began investigating several days later after the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia shared a video of the shooting incident with local, state, and federal authorities.
“Our decision to release the video of this significant event is consistent with our regular calls for law enforcement to release body-camera video that depicts any incident of public concern,” ACLU of Virginia wrote in a statement.
The video was recorded by an ACLU legal observer and shows Preston pull a handgun from his holster after observing a counter protester with a makeshift blowtorch made from an aerosol can and a lighter. Preston raised the gun, then lowered it, before raising it a second time, and firing a single round toward the man with the flaming torch. Preston then re-holstered his handgun, turned, and walked away. The shot did not cause any injuries.
Virginia State Police were standing behind barricades not far from where the shot was fired, but appeared to have no reaction. According to state police spokeswoman Corrine Geller, none of the officers witnessed the shooting.
“Nor did they hear the single shot being fired because it was muffled by the loud volume of the crowd yelling and chanting, drums and music,” Geller said, according to reports from The Daily Progress. “Had any one of our troopers witnessed that incident, they would have immediately acted, just as they did for the other four arrests made during the weekend.”
Police response – or what some see as the lack thereof – during the rally and subsequent violent clashes has been criticized immensely over the last two weeks.
Likewise, following the release of the video, which coincided with Preston’s arrest, Everytown for Gun Safety took the opportunity to condemn open carry.
“In a matter of seconds, the gunman went from legally openly carrying, to breaking the law & shooting in the direction of a group of people,” the gun control group wrote in a Facebook post Saturday. “Fortunately, no one was struck by a bullet, but this incident underscores the purpose of open carry: to intimidate, terrorize & silence.”
While calling for an end to open carry, the group goes on to say, “Hate and open carry are a toxic combination, and white supremacists have a long history of using guns to terrorize marginalized communities. Open carry introduces terror and intimidation in places where dialogue and debate should prevail.”
There has been no word of charges for the man holding the homemade blowtorch.
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Financial advisers warned last week gun stocks could be too risky to hold, as major manufacturers and retailers report depressed earnings and lowered expectations — without a tangible end in sight.
It’s good news for guns owners, who can expect the rock bottom prices to linger around a bit longer, even as the industry slides back into its historically strongest seasons.
“This will be an amazing time to be a gun owner, but a bad time to be a gun investor,” said Maks F.S., an investment advisor and contributor at Seeking Alpha, in an analysis of gun stocks Friday. “The firearms manufacturers and distributors bet on the wrong horse in the elections and produced a glut of firearms that must now be sold into a market with declining year-over-year demand.”
Estimated gun sales through July 2017 trail last year, the biggest on record, by 10 percent, according to FBI data. Despite busier-than-expected months for federal background checks — and by proxy, gun sales — in the spring, transfers in June and July tanked 12 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
High profile gun makers and retailers forecasted the volatility in their most recent quarterly earnings reports, fueling industry-wide speculation.
“I’ve been in the industry for more than 40 years and this is the most unique retail environment I’ve ever seen,” said Michael Callahan, Vista Outdoor’s interim CEO, earlier this month. “We’re seeing unprecedented change and it’s not likely to go back.”
American Outdoor Brands, Vista and Sturm, Ruger and Company all saw declining stock in the wake of weak earnings reports and uncertainty surrounding the continued promotional sales environment — including those at retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Cabela’s.
AOBC counts Smith & Wesson as the top earner in its growing portfolio of “rugged outdoor brands” while Vista owns more than three dozen companies in firearms, ammo and shooting accessories, including Savage Arms, Stevens, Federal Premium, Speer and American Eagle.
“I don’t know where that new normal is going to shake out at,” said Chris Killoy, president, CEO and director of Ruger in a conference call with investors earlier this month, regarding firearm demand under a new presidential administration. “We see some good long-term trends that we haven’t seen maybe in the past.”
Although AOBC raked in a record-breaking $903.2 million through the end of the fourth quarter, a 25 percent increase overall, CEO Jeff Debney warns the promotional environment will eat into 2018’s bottom line by as much as 17 percent. The company will release its first quarter earnings next month.
The industry’s overall pessimistic tone hasn’t gone unnoticed by those betting on its success, however.
“Investors, at least institutional investors, seemed to have opened up their eyes and have started dumping shares,” Maks F.S. said. “From the technical analysis point of view, the stocks present themselves as risky propositions to hold and, in my opinion, have more substantial downside risk than upside exposure.”
Other analysts say gun makers, like Ruger, helped create the current industry-wide “malaise” by donating more than $5 million to the National Rifle Association, who subsequently poured more than $50 million into campaigns for President Donald Trump and other congressional Republicans.
“Make no mistake, Ruger wasn’t wrong to support an electoral campaign that promised to improve the long-term health of the firearms industry,” said Rich Duprey, a financial writer and contributor at Motley Fool. “It might sell more guns in an administration in which the threat of gun control is prominent, but if those fears turned to reality, Ruger and other gunmakers would be hurt. The industry is better off with an administration that supports gun ownership. Ruger is simply a case of reaping what it sowed.”
Ruger’s second quarter net sales dropped 22 percent over last year. Killoy blamed left-over inventory for feeding the “promotionally-charged” retail environment, depressing Ruger’s bottom line and producing a net profit of $25 million between April 1 and July 1 — a 44 percent decline over 2016.
By comparison, Ruger’s first quarter sales topped $167.4 million — a mere 3 percent decline over first quarter 2016, when consumer fears of impending gun control still stoked demand.
“Ruger’s stock has lost 24 percent of its value this year, but at 13 times earnings and less than 12 times next year’s estimates, it may be at a value that’s too good to pass up,” Duprey said. “It is walking with a limp at the moment from having shot itself in the foot with its electoral campaign promotion, but it will be that much stronger after the current bit of pain wears off.”
Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin experience sharp decline in joblessness under new administration. In particular, the jobless rate in Michigan fell 1.2 percent from the final quarter of 2016 to reach 3.9 percent during the Trump administration. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped 1 percent to 3.1 percent. Florida experienced a 0.7 percentage point drop as unemployment clocked […]
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Veterans Affairs personnel recently informed members of a Congressional subcommittee that disability payments to veterans has reached an alarming number. At least one out of every five veterans who are federal disability recipients are suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). In 2008, disability cases that were linked causally to PTSD numbered 345,000. During the […]
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