Alumnus' firm sells company that manufactured guns used in Conn. shooting
Following Friday’s shooting in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., Cerberus Capital Management — an investment firm owned by Stephen Feinberg ’82 — announced on Tuesday that it would sell the gunmaker that produces the weapon used in the killings.
Feinberg founded Cerberus in 1992, and in 2006 it acquired Bushmaster Firearms and consolidated it with other brands to form the country’s largest gunmaker, Freedom Group, which is based in Madison, N.C. The shooter at Newtown, Adam Lanza, used a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle.
“We believe that this decision allows us to meet our obligations to the investors whose interests we are entrusted to protect without being drawn into the national debate that is more properly pursued by those with the formal charter and public responsibility to do so,” an official statement released by Cerberus on Tuesday morning stated.
Feinberg’s father, Martin, lives in Newtown, Conn., but both were unmentioned in the official statement released by the firm.
Neither Stephen nor Martin Feinberg responded to requests for comment.
Cerberus’ announcement was carefully nonpartisan, acknowledging the political nature of the debate on gun control without taking a stance.
“It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level,” the announcement said. “It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate. That is the job of our federal and state legislators,” it added.
At Princeton, Stephen Feinberg played on the tennis team, earning All-Ivy first-team honors with his doubles partner, Talbot Davis ’84.
At Princeton, Feinberg was a politics major and a member of ROTC. His senior thesis, “The Politics of Prostitution and Drug Legalization,” argued for the legalization of drugs and prostitution and included interviews with police, prostitutes and pimps in New York City, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Feinberg took the position to impress a professor who he perceived as liberal after receiving a bad grade arguing the opposite view in a paper the previous year, according to the same article.
Feinberg is now a major donor to Republican campaigns, having given $215,000 in donations over the past three election cycles. In 2008, Forbes estimated he had a net worth of about $1 billion.
Cerberus was founded without major publicity, but it now includes high-profile investors like Michael Steinhardt and Michael Dell, as well as prominent politicians and other officials on its payroll including former vice president Dan Quayle and former Treasury secretary John Snow. In May 2007, the firm acquired a majority stake in Chrysler.
Feinberg has three daughters, one of whom is currently a freshman at Princeton.