September 6th, 2013

NRA Joins Lawsuit Against Federal Phone Surveillance Programs

NSA phone surveillance eff.orgThe NRA has joined in an ACLU lawsuit challenging the Federal government’s vast domestic telephone surveillance program. Currently the National Security Agency (NSA) captures billions of telephone call records in a vast data-mining operation. As those records could reveal every person who makes a call to the NRA, shooting club, or gun store, the NRA claims the NSA call-tracking program could be used to create a de facto national gun registry. The NSA and/or other government agencies could easily create a list to identify and locate gun owners: “The government could simply demand the periodic submission of all firearms dealers’ transaction records, then centralize them in a database indexed by the buyers’ names for later searching.”

The NRA argued: “It would be absurd to think that the Congress would adopt and maintain a web of statutes intended to protect against the creation of a national gun registry, while simultaneously authorizing the FBI and the NSA to gather records that could effectively create just such a registry”.

The NRA claims the Federal Government’s telephone surveillance programs is unconstitutional: “The mass surveillance program threatens the First Amendment rights of the NRA and its members. The mass surveillance program could allow identification of NRA members, supporters, potential members, and other persons with whom the NRA communicates, potentially chilling their willingness to communicate with the NRA.”

The ACLU’s lawsuit, ACLU vs. Clapper, seeks an injunction to halt the NSA’s phone-surveillance program and also force the Federal Government to expunge all of its phone call records. Named defendants in the ACLU lawsuit the National Security Agency, the FBI, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Justice. The ACLU has welcomed the NRA’s participation in the lawsuit: “The range of voices joining the protest against mass government surveillance — not to mention the bipartisan storm that has swept Congress since the recent NSA disclosures — is a real testament to the fact that the government’s dragnet surveillance practices are offensive to Americans from across the political spectrum”.

Along with the NRA, other organizations have joined in the ACLU lawsuit against the NSA’s surveillance programs. These include the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and several news organizations including Fox, National Public Radio, Bloomberg News and The New Yorker. In fact even Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin filed supporting briefs. Sensenbrenner is a co-author of the 2001 Patriot Act, which the NSA has cited as authority for its data-gathering program. Sensenbrenner believes that NSA’s vast phone-logging operations have gone well beyond anything contemplated by Congress in passing the Patriot Act.

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September 6th, 2013

ATK Acquires Bushnell Group Holdings for $985 Million

ATK Alliant Techsystems buys Bushnell Bolle Hoppes Weaver RCBS CCIIt’s official — ATK is acquiring Bushnell — for a whopping $985 million. ATK (Alliant Techsystems) has executed a definitive agreement to acquire Bushnell Group Holdings, Inc., a leading maker of branded sports optics, outdoor accessories, and eyewear. In addition to rifle scopes, Bushnell makes rangefinders, binoculars, spotting scopes, GPS units, sunglasses, and more. Bushnell sells a myriad of other products for outdoorsmen through its brands Simmons, Tasco, Millet, Butler Creek, Bollé, Serengeti, Hoppe’s, Night Optics, Primos, Stoney Point, Hoppe’s, and Uncle Mike’s.

Under the terms of the transaction, ATK will pay $985 million in cash, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. Bushnell’s projected sales for calendar 2013 are approximately $600 million. ATK will finance the acquisition through a combination of $900 million of secured financing, borrowings under its existing revolving credit facility, and cash on hand. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. ATK anticipates closing the transaction in the third or fourth quarter of its Fiscal Year 2014.

Mark DeYoung, ATK President and CEO states: “This [Bushnell] acquisition will broaden our existing capabilities in the commercial shooting sports and expand our portfolio of branded shooting sports products. In addition, this transaction will allow the company to effectively enter new sporting markets in golf, snow skiing and camping.”

Bushnell markets 19 outdoor brands in sports optics, outdoor accessories and performance eyewear, including the Bushnell brand and other notable brands such as Primos, Bollé, Hoppe’s, Uncle Mike’s, Butler Creek, and Serengeti. Founded in 1948, Bushnell is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas and employs approximately 1,100 workers worldwide.

Bushnell Will Become Part of ATK’s Sporting Group of Companies
ATK will integrate Bushnell into its Sporting Group within its existing accessories business. ATK Sporting Group’s ammunition brands include Federal Premium, CCI, Fusion, Speer, Estate Cartridge and Blazer. ATK’s accessories brands include Alliant Powder, RCBS, Weaver Optics, BLACKHAWK!, Champion, Outers, and Gunslick Pro. In June 2013, ATK acquired Savage Sports Corporation, adding centerfire and rimfire rifles, shotguns and shooting range systems used for hunting, competitive and recreational shooting to its product offering.

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