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Cerberus to sell gun company that makes Bushmaster



Published: Tue, December 18, 2012 @ 4:38 p.m.

The company that makes one of the weapons used to kill elementary school children in Connecticut is being put up for sale by its owner, which called Friday's tragedy a "watershed event" in the debate over gun control.

The private-equity group Cerberus Capital Management said today it will sell its controlling stake in Freedom Group International, the maker of Bushmaster rifles. Investors also continued to bail out of other gunmakers while the retailer Dick's Sporting Goods said it would stop selling military-style rifles.

The activity comes as the political winds appear to be shifting. Some Republicans now say they're willing to discuss the issue of gun control — along with mental health issues and violent video games,

Cerberus cobbled Freedom Group together by buying Bushmaster, Remington, and other well-known gun brands starting in 2006. On Friday, a gunman using what is believed to have been a Bushmaster military-style rifle killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S history.

"It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level," Cerberus wrote in announcing the planned sale. Cerberus owned 95 percent of Freedom Group, according to a year-end 2011 filing for the gunmaker on its website.


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