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About 4 years ago P. James Debney, a Briton in his mid-40s, used to worked at an Alcoa subsidiary that made store-brand plastic wrap and other common household items. Mr. Debney was previously employed by Presto Products and Baco Consumer Products. He has a degree in chemistry from the University of Manchester in England.

In a recent interview for the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Debney said he knew almost nothing about guns before joining the 160-year-old Smith & Wesson in 2009 (He became the CEO in 2011). To prepare for his very first media interview, he had to borrow a friend's gun to practice shooting in the woods.

But just because Mr. Debney is the CEO of  Smith & Wesson, it doesn't necessarily mean he calls all the shots. He's most probably just a hired gun.

If you ever want to learn something, just do as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's undercover government connection Deep Throat used to say, "Follow the money. Always follow the money."

According to the Nasdaq website, among Smith & Wesson's largest institutional investors are some of the usual notably named investors in most of the largest U.S. corporations, including the Vanguard Group, Morgan Stanley, Blackrock, Prudential, Bank of New York Mellon, Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, UBS, JPMorgan (just to name a few). So the CEOs of these banks and private equity firms might have far more say about gun lobbying than does Mr. Debney.

But then, you'll also have to wonder...is Smith & Wesson just a subsidiary of a subsidiary of another major "bank-owned" U.S. major corporation?

The Freedom Group Inc. (not to be confused with Freedom Works) owns several gun makers, including Remington®, Bushmaster® Firearms, DPMS/Panther Arms™, Marlin, H&R, The Parker Gun, Advanced Armament Corp., Dakota Arms®, and Para™ USA. To that list you can also add Ruger, Colt, Browning, Beretta USA, Savage, Mossberg, U.S. Repeating Arms (a manufacturer under the Winchester brand), and Smith & Wesson.

In the U.S. and elsewhere in a global economy with multi-national corporations, the banks, hedge funds and private equity firms own the majority share of a company's stock --- and many also share the same members on their board-of-directors.

Think of the Hydra of Lerna, the ancient serpent-like beast that possessed many heads --- and for each head cut off, it grew two more --- "and with poisonous breath and blood so virulent that even its tracks were deadly."

NOTE: For almost any major publicly traded U.S. corporation, you can do a Google search for "institution investors". To examine their corporate executive's compensation packages and corporate taxes, go to the company's corporate website (accessed usually through their retail website if they have multiple websites) and look for "investor relations" and/or SEC filings. Scan the documents with a search for "effective" to see what the company actually pays in corporate taxes; and then note if it's the statutory rate of 35% or lower. Many times a low effective tax rate is a "selling point" for potential investors, because it might indicate greater returns on their dividends and share prices.

ALSO NOTE: I only use Smith & Wesson in the gun industry as but one example of one company in one industry for the purpose of this article to show the correlation between an industry's lobbyists and Congress, whose members usually reflects the will of these corporations in these industries, once they're elected into office. A typical voter's influence is immediately lost right after their candidate is voted into office (based solely on what that candidate says while they're campaigning for office).

A few business moguls who favor stricter gun-control laws --- such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, financier George Soros and entertainment honcho David Geffen -- are in a unique position of being able to put their money where their mouths are. With a single bold move they can change the raging gun debate in a way that our corruptible members in Congress can not. You can't get Congress to do anything because of the revolving door between Congress and the lobbyists on K Street, who work for the CEOs on Wall Street, who might own the guns stores on Main Street. They usually come full circle and are all one and the same.

According to Michael Bloomberg's own website, billionaires (and others) should buy Freedom Group Inc., the world’s largest gun manufacturer, from Cerberus Capital Management (which was recently put it up for sale) --- and then literally liquidate it (And when in doubt, just ask Mitt Romney how it's done).

As an aside: House Republicans voted down a UN sponsored International Gun Treaty to make it illegal to knowingly sell arms to organized crime groups and drug dealers. House members feared it would trample their state's rights and violate their 2nd Amendment Rights. Every country signed the treaty with the exception of 4 --- the United States, North Korea, Syria and Iran.  Jon Stewart said, "Congratulations America, you just became one of your own worst enemies."

Last fall Smith & Wesson's CEO said, "It is socially acceptable to carry a firearm, more so than ever before—to carry a firearm for protection, have one at home for protection and go to the range to shoot as a pastime and hobby."

That was before the Newtown massacre on December 14, 2012 --- when 20 children and 6 adults were gunned down at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Since then (according to the Wall Street Journal) , Mr. Debney has refused to comment. "We are not available at this time," said a Smith & Wesson spokeswoman.

Mr. Debney and others in the gun industry have been especially eager to court more women. Smith & Wesson sponsors the NRA Women's Network, whose website provides information and links to shopping sites featuring such items as pink "bra holsters."

Mr. Debney has noted that the popularity (in the area of handguns) is growing for the lighter-weight pistols, made partly of plastic and small enough to slip into a pocket or a purse. Smith & Wesson introduced a pistol early last year called M&P Shield, which is about 6 inches long and less than an inch thick. The slogan: "Shield Yourself."

Mr. Debney told investors last September that old-style shotguns and bolt-action rifles were on the wane and that the hunting market was "soft." But for semi-automatic rifles, known in the trade as "modern sporting rifles," were becoming very popular. He also pointed to growth prospects from "a younger demographic that grew up playing video games."

The President of the gun lobby, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, says, "There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games..."

So essentially, LaPierre was publicly demonizing a gun manufacturers' private marketing plan. Coincidence?

The CEO of Smith & Wesson had also said at a conference last year, "There is a perception that crime is on the increase because of the economy. That is definitely driving the trend towards purchasing firearms for personal protection."

Note that he said there is a "perception that crime is on the increase". According to the FBI's Preliminary Semiannual Crime Statistics for 2012, "Two of the four offenses in the violent crime category— (1) murder and non-negligent manslaughter and (2) forcible rape—show decreases when data from the first six months of 2012 were compared with data from the first six months of 2011."

Last January the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) board voted unanimously to divest itself of investments (via its investment in a fund managed by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management) after discovering that CalSTRS had a multi-million dollar interest in Freedom Group Inc -- the maker of the Bushmaster® AR-15 rifle used in the Newtown massacre.

Ironically, just days before the slaughter, California State officials had offered the maker of that rifle a $1 million loan to bring new jobs to the state. The offer, capping six months of negotiations between the Department of Economic and Community Development and Freedom Group Inc, was dropped after Cerberus Capital Management announced it would sell Freedom Group (the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15).

Cerberus Capital Management has more than $20 billion under management in funds and accounts. Investors include prominent government and private sector pension and retirement
funds (such as CalSTRS), charitable foundations, university endowments, insurance companies, family savings and "sovereign wealth funds" used by the top 1%. By comparison, Bain Capital had $66 billion last year.

Cerberus Capital Management claims that “as a firm, we are investors, not statesmen or policy makers.” But their top leadership team includes statesmen and former policymakers like Dan Quayle, a former vice president of the United States, and John Snow, a former Treasury secretary.

Cerberus Capital Management is headquartered at 875 Third Avenue in New York City.
It's there where you'll find the Hydra of Lerna, holding the smoking gun from Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Cerberus Capital Management

FULL DISCLOSURE AND COMMENTARY:

The author of this post grew up around guns and is from a military family --- and is a firm believer of Second Amendment rights. He also believes in free enterprise, but is deeply opposed to corporate lobbyists who corrupt and influence public policy solely for the purpose of corporate profits --- especially if the company evades taxes, opposes worker's rights, outsources American jobs and pays their lowest paid employees below a "living wage" --- while at the same time, rewarding their CEOs with multi-million salaries every year.

The only reason to own one of these "military assault styled" semi-automatic rifles (such as the Bushmaster®) is not for the purpose of hunting or self-defense, but because of their light weight and because they're also very easy to conceal --- so they have no real purpose other than for target shooting in the woods (or maybe for U.S. Secret Service body guards protecting our POTUS) --- so why would anyone else need a 30-round clip? Afraid a bear will sneak up on you?

A hand gun with 10 rounds is perfectly suited for the purpose of personal self-defense, or in the event of a home invasion (unless you are a drug dealer). If you need more than 10 bullets to stop a break-in, then you'll need to spend more time on a shooting range --- otherwise, even a 30 round clip won't save your ass.

Besides, if home or self-defense was your only argument, a revolver might be more reliable --- they don't jam. Or like Joe Biden said, a shotgun (I'd recommend a multi-shot pump action) is good too, but it will leave you with an awful mess to clean up.

The gun lobby sells us weapons such as the Bushmaster® and 100-round drums for the same exact reason the tobacco lobby sold us cigarettes...for corporate profits (Just ask John Boehner, he'll tell you). Otherwise, maybe these weapons should be restricted to legitimate and registered gun collectors. If the U.S. Government REALLY wanted to take your guns, do you think a Bushmaster® will keep the U.S. Marines from storming your compound? (Ted Nugent need not reply. Besides, wasn't he supposed to be dead or in jail by now?)

While I don't propose an outright ban on these type of weapons, 30-round clips can used for nefarious reasons and should be illegal to sell or give away (like switchblade knives) --- and there's no real good reason why gun shows shouldn't also be required to use background checks, just like legitimately registered firearms dealers must.

And if the NRA won't support a ban on 30-round (or more) clips, then maybe Congress can require the wholesalers and/or manufacturers of these clips/drums be mandated to carry liability insurance for the carnage they may cause. While although we do have a Constitutional right to "bear arms", we don't have a right to bear tanks, bazookas, shoulder-fired sting missiles, nuclear bombs or 30-round clips. Those kids and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School had the most fundamental of all rights...a right a life.

Originally posted to Bud Meyers on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 02:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) and Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  you got that right (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Creosote
    A hand gun with 10 rounds is perfectly suited for the purpose of personal self-defense, or in the event of a home invasion (unless you are a drug dealer). If you need more than 10 bullets to stop a break-in, then you'll need to spend more time on a shooting range --- otherwise, even a 30 round clip won't save your ass.

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 GOP Rep. Steve Stockman (TX):"If babies had guns, they wouldn't be aborted"

    by annieli on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 03:35:04 PM PDT

  •  The Amendments, as is the main body of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Kevskos

    Constitution, are addressed to agents of government. Where the main body is prescriptive, telling the agents what they may and must do, the first series of Amendments are proscriptive, telling the agents what they must not do, in the interest of respecting individual rights, as well as institutions, such as the press and established religions -- unless ignoring that prohibition is warranted. The obligations outlined in the Constitution trump individual rights. You can tell that because there are no penalties associated, for example, with taking someone's life in the interest of providing protection.
    That said, the right to keep and bear arms does not include the right to discharge amunition; nor does it include the right to prance about the countryside, other than as part of a well-regulated militia. There is a difference between ownership and use. Indeed, ownership comes with obligations that cover proper use and abuse is typically reason for termination of ownership.
    Ownership is not a human right. It is a civil right and, ipso facto, subject to being closely regulated. Or, since it is unrelated to governing, removed entirely -- i.e. with a claim of eminent domain.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 04:05:05 PM PDT

    •  Bear arms, yes; discharge ammunition, no? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SquareSailor

      Isn't that a bit like having the right of free association without being able to gather in public? Having the right to political speech as long as I speak only inside my house? Having 50 states criminalize the performing of abortions at the same time I retain my right to a 1st trimester abortion?

      Perhaps it's time to reread the Heller decision, which says the Second Amendment "protects an individual right to keep and bear arms", is "premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad)", and "the activities [the Amendment] protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia."

      Note the phrase "use of arms." At this point in time, the Supremes disagree with your interpretation of the Constitution vis-à-vis discharge of ammunition.

      YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

      by raincrow on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 05:10:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True. The Supremes disagree, sometimes with (0+ / 0-)

        themselves. But then, the Constitution, other than paying lip-service to an endowment from the "Creator," disagreed with the whole concept of human rights. Necessarily so. After all, the ownership of humans, as well as servitude of various kinds, could not be considered legal unless property rights trump human rights.
        And that attitude persists in the argument over owning guns. Which is more important: the human right to go on living until the natural terminus arrives or the right to own a gun to "protect" that right to go on living?
        What I would argue is that the persistent threat to life from the community of the living -- aka "capital punishment-- validates the need for self-protection. It is a fact that the state kills people on purpose, employing due process sometimes and sometimes not. It is a fact that hundreds of innocent people have been snatched from the jaws of death (death row) after having been falsely convicted of deprivations they didn't commit, even as innocent children and parents and old people are being deprived of lunch.
        The resulting atmosphere is not one to promote confidence in the good intentions of the state. Never mind that people are gunned down by law enforcement on an almost daily basis. The U.S. is fixated on death and dying with good reason. The possibility of being shot dead on the spot at any moment is not only real, but well publicized -- all in the interest of rendering the population compliant.

        It's my contention that owning a gun is not a solution to the problem. Ownership may assuage the fear of being owned, but guns merely increase the chance that one's life will be cut short in its prime and death will arrive before its time. George's definition of the U.S. as an ownership society was both wishful thinking and accurate. Because ownership is a false flag. Ownership is not a ship that will take you anywhere you want to be. Esau was induced to trade his birthright for lunch. The Old Testament did not question how come Isaac did not share lunch with his brother without being asked. In the New Testament, thousands are fed, no questions asked, but the message didn't stick. Modern Christians, in particular, insist on "no free lunch." In some parts of the country, a cane pole, a snare and a long gun still belie that dictum, but all the evidence suggests an interest in making it stick.

        What were the two characteristics of Occupy Wall Street which raised the most official concern? Free food and the walk about. People roaming the countryside at will and being fed to boot are signs that the strategy of confining the populace to cages on wheels has failed.

        You see, suburbanization is conventionally blamed on "white flight," but, in fact, the suburban enclaves had to be built before people could be induced to move there by deteriorating conditions in the cities. Putting people in cars and moving them around like gerbils on a treadmill was a conscious strategy in response to the popular uprisings in the cities where people could get together and unite in opposition to those who would exploit their labor. Relocating populations to the suburbs was a variant of "divide to conquer." The only mistake was the continued concentration of youth in educational institutions to which they were bussed. It got the youth used to working and playing together on foot and the millenials are the result. Young adults are no longer getting cars at the rate they did in 1985. Indeed, large numbers are putting off even learning to drive. They insist on public transport, which is, after all, what they are used to. It may be ironic, but public services promote individual liberties. People can go where they want by just hopping on a train or bus and hopping off when it stops. Can't do that with a plane.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 03:14:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not sure how to respond to all your (0+ / 0-)

          changes in topic, so I'll hit some high points.

          I don't know who "George" is.

          I don't know what suburbanization, busing, driving, and planes have to do with the 2nd Amendment.

          I'm disappointed in your ignorant broad-brushing of [sic] Modern Christians (inconvenient fact: if it weren't for modern Christians, John McCain would've won in 2008, and God/ Goddess/ Nothing knows who would be president now).

          And I'm having a hard time making sense of your assertion that the Constitution "disagreed with the whole concept of human rights." The Constitution was the mechanism used to end slavery, then to enfranchise people of color and people of XX chromosomes, and is the mechanism through which civil rights are finally being extended to LGBT people. Once again, you and Constitutional jurisprudence do not seem to be in communion.

          Which is more important: the human right to go on living until the natural terminus arrives or the right to own a gun to "protect" that right to go on living?
          What's most important to me is that this is not the zero sum game you portray.

          I live in a massive land filled with 1/3 of a billion immigrants or offspring of relatively recent immigrants, wanderers, rootless people, seekers, the desperate, the curious, people who -- unlike so many others in the world -- were sufficiently weakly socialized that they were able to leave family, land, and traditions for an unknown country. An unknown country that was taken by force from its original human occupants. Not an auspicious beginning. People of all stripes, their subconscious populated with archetypes of all stripes, many of them traumatized into their decision to uproot, and further traumatized en route and once here. Imperialist/colonialist origins to our power structure and national psyche. The psychic residue of two centuries of hideous wars. A gigantic, steaming, fragrant gallimaufry of the worst possible power problems.

          You fucking bet your life I believe the right to keep and bear arms is still necessary. Someday may it not be so, but today is not that day, and I do not believe the first thread we pull to unravel the proverbial fabric of violence endemic in our culture is to cede our private gun ownership right.

          I believe we can keep reasonable gun rights and extend full civil rights to LGBT people, atheists, and Scairy Moozlims.

          I believe we can keep reasonable gun rights and fight all the battles it will take to grow out of racism, homo/transphobia, misogyny, and rape culture.

          I believe we can keep reasonable gun rights and pay women equal pay for equal work. I believe we can keep reasonable gun rights and tear City Hall down to the ground if police are not constrained from and punished for brutality.

          I believe we can keep reasonable gun rights and marshal people on both sides of the political divide to pass a Constitutional amendment allowing campaign finance control and denying non-human entities the rights of personhood -- a difficult but very necessary step in reasserting the will of the less powerful over the plutocrats.

          I believe we can keep reasonable gun rights and restrict magazine capacity, require all gun transfers to be mediated by licensed dealers who perform background checks, require all gun buyers to present proof that they have successfully completed some reasonable degree of firearms safety and law education, require owners to timely report gun thefts (to short-circuit strawman purchases and unregulated private transfers), and hold gun owners civilly and criminally responsible for failing to secure firearms.

          And I believe we can recalibrate if and when we choose to do so, and repeal the 2nd Amendment.

          YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

          by raincrow on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 04:55:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  check those corporate officers (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, a2nite, WakeUpNeo, Creosote

    J Danforth Quayle aka Vice President under George Herbert Walker Bush

    John Snow - formerly head of CSX, then Secretary of the Treasury under ...  wait for it ....  George Herbert Walker Bush

    follow the money indeed

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 04:42:50 PM PDT

  •  Good diary, but AAAARRRGGG!! It's a MAGAZINE! (0+ / 0-)

    THIS is a clip! Clips are for M-1 Garands!

    YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

    by raincrow on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 04:53:50 PM PDT

    •  Magazine or clip, (0+ / 0-)

      Your point is well noted. I just used the generic term that the politicians and talking heads had been using. Sometimes they call the Bushmaster an assault rifle, but since it's not fully automatic, it's really an "assault-styled" rifle, not a military grade weapon.

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