Firearms distributor files for bankruptcy, says gun sales dropped when Trump became president

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A firearms distributor filed for bankruptcy protection Monday saying sales were affected after President Trump was elected president.

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United Sports Cos (USC) said it planned to liquidate its holdings citing excessive debt and inventory. The company, which served 20,000 in the U.S., also cited “significant disruptions” in other retailers, such as Bass Pro Shop buying Cabela in 2017, Reuters reported.

The company banked on Hillary Clinton winning the election and boosted its inventory before the race, CEO Bradley Johnson said in a court filing with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del. Sales of firearms slowed dramatically after the election of Trump as president in 2016 allayed fears of a Democratic crackdown on gun owners, The Associated Press reported in March 2018.

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The company expected higher sales but Clinton lost the election. Johnson said sales fell from an average of $885.3 million from 2012 to 2016 to $557 million in 2018. According to its petition, USC said it had “between $100 million and $500 million in liabilities,” Reuters reported.

Following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it would stop selling firearms at its stores. Last year, Remington Outdoor Co. went bankrupt.

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USC, founded in 1933, carries brands such as Remington, Smith & Wesson and Glock. The company, which also sells outdoor equipment, was the “largest distributor of firearms in the U.S.” a few years ago, according to Bloomberg. However, Wellspring Capital Management, the company’s largest equity owner, “cashed out” more than $183 million “through dividend recapitalization deals in 2012 and 2013,” Bloomberg reported.

USC blamed mismanagement at Wellspring for its decline. The company said Wellspring “appointed fiduciaries who grossly mismanaged the business and depleted all reserves necessary to weather the storms and the headwinds the business would face,” Bloomberg reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.