Remington Outdoor Company announced Thursday it’s emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, after shedding $775 million dollars in debt.
As the company’s creditors take over the arms manufacturer, an old adversary of Remington who says its popular Model 700 rifle has a fatal safety flaw, recently received more ammunition to help him make his case.
“I believe somebody wants me to find something,” says Richard Barber. “There’s something here.”
Several weeks ago an anonymous source sent Barber 20 large tubs of documents regarding Remington and its Model 700 rifle.
“Yes, I estimate between 80 and 100,000 pages are here,” he said.
He says what he finds in those tubs is adding to his store of knowledge. Barber says whatever he finds will be made public.
“The documents don’t lie,” says Barber. “The people at Remington do. And I’m just going to keep going and keep disseminating this information and anything that I find in here becomes a matter of public record.”
For more than five decades Remington has reached out of court settlements in wrongful death and injury lawsuits involving Model 700 rifles. Those settlements and their associated documents have been sealed from the public by court order.
That is until Barber started collecting documents 19 years ago.
“I’m leveling the playing field,” says Barber.
“These attorneys who have handled this type of litigation for quite a period of time…I’m breaking this monopoly they have. Everybody gets the documents.”
Barber says his new tool in his work, his “Remington Facts Counter-Point” Facebook page, is getting people’s attention. Recently the page received nearly 5,000 views in 24 hours.
“I’m not alone anymore and these people embolden me because there’s strength in numbers,” says Barber.
Barber says people who have experienced rifle discharges are turning to the page to answer the same questions he started asking nearly two decades ago when his son was killed when a Remington Model 700 discharged: How could this happen? And what did Remington know about it?
People reaching out to Barber include a former Remington machinist who contacted Barber about manufacturing flaws he says Remington ignored.
“He was a specialized machine operator for 22 and half years, and he was informing his employers that the machine was not cutting parts to gauge,” says Barber.
“Which means the parts were out of specification and he was literally warning his superiors that someone was going to get injured or killed if they didn’t fix this.”
The former employee told Barber he took a leave of absence from work because of the stress he was enduring. When he returned from leave, the machinery still had not been repaired. He eventually resigned from the company.
As for the restructured Remington, Barber says now is the time for the new company owners to tell the truth about the Model 700.
“I don’t think this company can no longer survive based off of the information that exists in the public domain,” says Barber. “And they need to understand that I’m just getting warmed up.”
Nineteen years after the shooting death of his son Gus, Barber’s mission remains the same.
“Again this year if I can save one more life, then I can live with it.”
MTN News’ call to Remington for comment on this story was not returned.