26 May 2011

Lobbyists Working for Small Arms Companies

The basis of the article is Colt hiring a lobbyist after 50-some-odd years. However, much of the article talks about lobbyists that are working for small arms companies, especially in advance of the competition for the next Army rifle.

Remington Arms and other gun makers already had lobbyists in place long before the Army announced it wanted a better combat rifle. Remington has spent nearly $500,000 on lobbyists over the last two years alone in a push to get more of its weapons into the hands of U.S. troops, according to lobbying records filed with Congress.

Remington, with its headquarters in Madison, N.C., and a manufacturing plant in upstate New York, is represented by the firms Winborn Solutions and Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough. Remington will offer its multicaliber Adaptive Combat Rifle.

"The biggest thing that Remington wants is the ability to compete for contracts," said Jason Schauble, vice president of Remington's military products division.


Smith, who runs RMax Technologies, a Washington consulting firm, registered as Colt's representative in April 2010, according to disclosure records. He knows how the process works. Before his six years as a senior Navy official, Smith was a staffer on the House Armed Services Committee and responsible for oversight of Army weapons programs.

"There's nothing nefarious about it," said James Battaglini, Colt's executive vice president. "We believe it is important to have a person in the Washington area that is available to speak on our behalf because we are in Connecticut."


FNMI sells a combat rifle called the SCAR to the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla. The command has its own acquisition budget and the latitude to buy gear the conventional military branches can't. FNMI also sells machine guns to the Army.

Fighting FNMI's battles inside Washington's Beltway is the American Business Development Group, a firm that boasts a roster of retired military officers who "provide strategic guidance and access" to the leadership at the Defense Department and other federal agencies. FN Herstal pays the firm $120,000 a year, according to disclosure records.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is a Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Republican congressman Joe Wilson sits on the House Armed Services Committee. FMNI, based in Columbia, S.C., is in Wilson's district.

Smith & Wesson, known more for handguns than military rifles, will also bid for the carbine work. The company, based in Springfield, Mass., pays the firm Greenberg Traurig $360,000 a year to be its Washington representative, disclosure records show.

Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts is the top Republican on the Armed Services subcommittee that oversees Army programs.

But not all prospective competitors think a lobbying firm is necessary — at least, not any longer. Heckler & Koch, a German firearms maker with affiliates in the U.S., parted ways with Greenberg Traurig in 2009 and another Washington firm, Mark Barnes and Associates, in early 2010.

By: Brant

1 comment:

Guardian said...

My pick would be a merge between the Remington (not Bushmaster!) version of the ACR and the Colt CM901. Combine the overall design, operating mechanism, and ergonomics of the ACR with CM901's ability to switch between light (5.56/6.8mm) and heavy (7.62mm) configurations. That would be the perfect modern individual weapon.

And if the military did this, then I would feel justified in spending $2,000-$3,000 for a civilian version because I could be assured of a long-lived supply chain of spare parts, accessories, etc. like that which has developed around the AR-15 platform.

Then again, I don't have a lobbyist :).

-- Guardian