By Frank Smyth
A man with an assault rifle at an exhibit booth at the George R. Brown convention center, the site for the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston, Texas May 5, 2013. (Photo by Adrees Latif/Reuters)
This year’s gun lobby board election brought a few surprises, as the National Rifle Association has been trying to keep the results (and the low voter turnout) quiet.
George K. Kollitides II is the founder and CEO of Freedom Group, America’s largest and most profitable firearms consortium. One of the company’s products is the Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle that was used last December in the Sandy Hook school massacre.
Last year Freedom Group led the gun industry with record sales of almost $1 billion, or $931.9 million. Kollitides also quietly served last year on the NRA’s shadowy Nominating Committee for the NRA’s 2012 board elections, as reported in January in Mother Jones. His place on the Nominating Committee likely helped get his name on the NRA’s official ballot this year.
Yet he still lost his bid for the NRA board, according to election results just published in the August edition of the NRA’s American Rifleman magazine, available only to NRA dues-paying members, a copy of which was obtained by MSNBC. Kollitides remains a Trustee of the NRA Foundation, according to its latest annual report. The foundation’s activities include organizing gun safety and target shooting competitions for children.
Calls to Kollitides’ office at Freedom Group’s headquarters in Madison, North Carolina, requesting comment were not returned.
By Hannah Rappleye and Tom Winter
First Generation Bushmaster Assault Rifle – Wooden stock shown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A national sporting goods company that suspended sales of assault rifles after the Newtown, Connecticut shooting that cost 26 lives is now selling the type of gun the shooter used via a new and separate chain of specialty stores.
Dicks’ Sporting Goods issued a statement after the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting, in which Adam Lanza killed 20 students and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School with a Bushmaster assault rifle, that it would suspend the sales of assault rifles.
“We are extremely saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week,” said the statement, “and our hearts go out to victims and their families and to the entire community. Out of respect for the victims and their families, during this time of national mourning we have removed all guns from sale and from display in our store nearest to Newtown and suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all of our stores chainwide.”
Gun control activists praised the chain’s decision at the time. But now Dick’s has opened the first store in a new chain called Field & Stream that specializes in hunting and fishing products, and a call to the store in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania reveals that Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifles are for sale.
“We have a full stock,” said a clerk who identified himself as Gary. He said the guns retailed for $800, and that the gun counter was “really busy.”
A Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and ammunition is seen in Seattle, March 27, 2006. (Ted S. Warren/AP Photo)
Law enforcement officials said that Adam Lanza was armed with four firearms when he started his rampage at a Connecticut elementary school Friday that ended in the deaths of 20 children and seven adults, but nearly all the killing was done with just one of the guns: a .223 caliber Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle.
Lanza used the rifle, a modified civilian version of the military’s M-16 similar to the popular AR-15, as he stalked through the school and opened fire on children as young as five. Dr. H. Wayne Carver, the medical examiner who investigated the massacre, told reporters over the weekend that all of Lanza’s victims had been shot more than once.
The killing ended when Lanza took his own life, this time using a handgun, officials said.
Bushmaster, headquartered in North Carolina, bills itself on its website as the leading supplier of AR-15-type rifles in the U.S. and offers more than a dozen different models in various calibers.
PLEASE SIGN MY PETITION
by Cenl Uygur
It’s a trick. When people tell you that you shouldn’t politicize a tragedy like the shooting in Aurora, Colorado they are unwittingly helping to spread NRA propaganda. After a tragedy like that, it is the most logical thing in the world to ask what went wrong and how we can fix it. When you ask that question, the obvious answer is our gun laws. It’s awfully hard to stab 70 people and kill 12 of them in a short period of time like that. It’s very easy to murder those same people if you have an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and two glocks.
This is the obvious conclusion that the NRA desperately wants you to avoid. So, they do a brilliant trick where they tell you that you are not allowed to talk about the problem in the immediate aftermath of the violence and death their guns caused — that would be politicizing the tragedy. FULL POST