One wonders why Gaston Glock, pictured above with the wife who is 50 years his junior, and an Austrian born in Vienna in 1929, cares so deeply about American Second Amendment rights, at least the ahistorical view of them since about thirty years ago. Of course, the answer is enormous-but-enormous profits. In January 2010, Business Week reported, after Obama became president, “Gaston Glock played on [the] anxiety [of extremists] in an open letter to customers.” Glock wrote: “As shooters and gun owners, we must band together with even greater zeal than in the past. We are not going to roll over and have our guns taken away because some of our misguided neighbors, no matter who they are.” We are not going to roll over and have our guns taken away, really? Wherever the two lovebirds are lunching in the photograph above, you can be sure it is not in an American bunker in Idaho.
According to ABC News, accused Aurora movie house shooter James Holmes legally bought thousands of bullets, explosive chemicals and four guns months before prosecutors say he opened fire on a crowded movie theater. He started his buying spree only two years ago (May 10, 2012) with the online purchase of tear gas grenades. From then until July 14, Holmes legally bought nearly 6,300 rounds of ammunition, two Glock .40-caliber pistols, a .223-caliber semi-automatic rifle from Smith & Wesson, a 12-gauge Remington 870 Express Tactical shotgun, ballistic protection clothing, beam laser lights, bomb-making material, and handcuffs. Holmes bought of all this both online and in person. At the time, there was no legal process to keep a dangerous person from buying all of the above items legally in Colorado.
Remington, established in 1816 in New York, is today owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, which created a holding company, the so-called Freedom Group, Inc. (FGI) of arms makers, including the brands Bushmaster, DPMS, and Remington Arms, in 2006. FGI is the largest firearms and ammunition maker in the world. On December 18, 2012, following the Sand Hook Elementary School shooting, Cerberus announced its intention to divest Freedom Group after the powerful California pension board, a stakeholder, said it planned to strip all stakes held in firearms that make weapons banned by state law. Founded in 1992, the firm has $20 billion under management.
Freedom Group CEO, George Kollitides, is a former managing director for Cerberus who led the FGI deal. He is a board member of the NRA, and chairman of Tier 1 Group, a special forces training business.
No deal has yet been made with regard to the sale of FGI. From Reuters: “…major Wall Street firms [have] been unwilling to finance a bid for Freedom Group.” Still, the stocks of publicly traded weapons manufacturers have recovered since the Sandy Hook disaster. These include Smith & Wesson Holding Corp., Sturm Ruger & Co. Freedom Group’s rose 20 percent in the first half of 2013- an enormous amount – to $931.9 million.
The Smith & Wesson Holmes used in Aurora was the M&P 15 (M&P for Military and Police), the company’s AR-15 assault weapon. Smith & Wesson says that it offers its assault rifles “in a variety of configurations tailored to specific shooting applications and styles,” Holems used a 100-drum magazine, which reportedly malfunctioned, but only after he had fired 45 rounds into the crowd of moviegoers. (See my story on Aurora shooting victim Alex Sullivan and his family, here.)
Meanwhile, just between 2008-2012, the NRA alongside the ever-secretive and K0ch-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) backed 99 laws rolling back gun safety regulations in 37 states. What’s more, eleven years ago (2003), Colorado passed its conceal carry measure. By the end of 2012, Colorado had handed out roughly 120,000 concealed carry permits. Then in March 2013, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that concealed weapons are legal on the state’s college campuses – one of five states explicitly allowing them in spite of the carnage across college campuses and in schools at every grade level, and in spite of two of the most gruesome mass shootings in American history taking place in the Denver area. As one source put it: “If former neauroscience student James Holmes were still attending the University of Colorado today, the movie theater killer-who had no criminal history and obtained his weapons legally-could have gotten a permit to tote his pair of .40 caliber Glocks straight into the student union.”
Glock, known for its market-changing semi-automatic pistol, is, as I said above, from Austria, where private possession of handguns is permitted with only special authorization, and where automatic assault weapons are prohibited. Gaston Glock has made a fortune since entering the American market in the 1980s, but company finances remain murky as Glock is notoriously secretive and has created a complex and opaque structure of holding companies and trusts for Glock-affiliated entities around the world. Its American subsidiary is in Cobb County, Georgia, outside of Atlanta, where one of its former top officials, Paul Jannuzzo, a leading gun industry voice in the late 1990s and early 2000s, has been accused of theft and embezzlement.
Glock has 65 percent of the American law enforcement market, which means that American taxpayers are largely paying for Glock’s financial success — EVEN THE GUNS AND AMMO HOARDERS WHO REVILE THE POLICE.