For the first time since Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 rifle to kill 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the CEO of Freedom Group, which owns the firearms maker, has something to say about the controversy.
“It’s very easy to blame an inanimate object," George Kollitides told the Washington Times in an exclusive interview. "Any kind of instrument in the wrong hands can be put to evil use."
The Freedom Group, which is based in Remington, N.C., is the oldest and largest manufacturer of firearms and ammunition in the country. The company, which owns a number of brands including Remington, sold 1.4 million long guns and 2 billion rounds of ammunition last year, according to the Washington Times.
Immediately after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced that it would be selling off its investment in the company. The firm described the shooting as "a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level," The Huffington Post reported at the time.
Yet in the aftermath of Newtown, sales of Bushmasters soared and gun store owners across the country struggled to restock shelves fast enough. Smith & Wesson, another major firearms maker, has seen record levels of sales this year.
Military-style assault weapons like the Bushmaster Lanza were once primarily used for military and law enforcement purposes. In recent decades, thanks to aggressive marketing tactics, the use of military-style weapons has expanded.