The Daryl Guberman / IndustrialPR Net machine is in full swing in the past two months, pushing a newly created certification scheme called ARM9009, purporting to be for firearm manufacturers. Guberman, who runs the self-accredited certificate mill G-PMC LLC, which offers certificates for everything from Kosher foods, medical devices, airplane manufacturing to medical marijuana, promotes his company through a partnership with IndustrialPR Net, a paid press release service that, for about $80-90 will publish anyone’s press release and distribute it to shady news outlets that accept this sort of thing. Guberman has used this to prop himself up as a serious player in the world of ISO 9001, by writing his own press and then getting IndustrialPR Net to run the material. He’s even paid to have his notices appear on the dubious PRNewswire sign in NYC, but he never mentions the fact that these media announcements are crafted by his organizations and then paid for placement.
Meanwhile, IndustrialPR net is the brainchild of a Donald Norman LaBelle who also runs Guberman’s so-called accreditation body, Industrial Leaders Group, meaning Guberman’s alleged “independent” accreditation originates from a paid press release aggregator who he also happens to have business ties with.
So we can expect to see lots of press about ARM9009, as the IndustrialPR Net spam machine works overtime to get the word out. There’s a problem though: false advertising is illegal, and the claims being made by Guberman and friends appear to range from highly distorted representations to absolute falsehoods. Let’s look at some of them.
From this October 31 press release:
- Claim: “ARM 9009 Standard Surpasses ISO 9001 for Firearms and Armoring Quality Certification”
- Status: untrue. ISO 9001 has over a million ISO 9001 certified organizations, and according to IndustrialPR Net press releases, ARM9009 only has four certified companies: Alpine Armoring (Herndon VA), Matrix Aerospace (Claremont NH), Square Deal (Marathon NY)and Apahouser (Marlborough, MA).
- Claim: “Several years ago, the American Board of Accredited Certifications assembled an independent committee to the address the quality and safety issues of firearms and armoring systems for military personnel, criminal justice agencies, U.S. embassies, and consumers.”
- Status: unlikely, if not deceptive. First, ABAC does not appear to have existed “several years ago”, nor does it appear to be a legal entity now. The website does not indicate any legal formation for the company (no “LLC” or “Inc.”). The company claims that it’s “corporate headquarters” is in New York City, but New York State business license records do not show any such organization as ever having been formed. If it does exist, it operates under a different name; more likely, it was never actually formed as a legal entity, but merely as a website. The Madison Avenue address resolves as a “virtual office” hosted by Regus. Next, it is unlikely that the committee formed regarding firearms was “independent” given the same five or so names appear on all the Guberman related organizations, from Don LaBelle to Guberman himself.
- Claim: “ARM 9009 is a highly specialized standard that has been universally accepted by firearms and armoring manufacturers and suppliers as well as companies that manufacturer or supply parts, components and materials to the firearms and/or armoring industry.”
- Status: untrue. It is not clear that the ARM9009 standard even exists as a formal document. Guberman’s organizations claim one cannot obtain a copy of the actual document, because it is confidential. Oxebridge has confirmed that at least two of the four current ARM9009 certified companies received their certifications from G-PMC LLC without ever having seen the standard; one company confirmed it was sent after they received the certificate, but another said it was never sent at all. The latter company was led to believe the standard was developed based on their internal procedures, “because it was so new.” Furthermore, the standard has not been “universally accepted.” Oxebridge has contacted key firearm manufacturing industry associations and manufacturers, and none of them had heard of the standard, much less agreed to recognize it.
- Claim: “ARM 9009 focuses exclusively on the firearms and armoring sectors, and is the only designated quality management registration with this specific designation extending to federal, state, local, and international markets.”
- Status: deceptive to untrue. The body armor standard BA9000 covers body armor, and while entirely unsuccessful, it nevertheless pre-dates ARM9009 as it was released by the National Institute of Justice in 2012.
- Claim: “The American Board of Accredited Certifications was founded by a group of quality professionals in 2003 with roots dating back to 1993.”
- Status: unclear. As indicated above, there are no records that ABAC ever existed prior to 2014.
- Claim: “Today, ABAC is the leading independent accreditation board in the United States with association members, signatories, regional accreditation groups, and international observer organizations.”
- Status: untrue. The leading accreditation body for such standards is ANAB, which is recognized by ANSI and thus the US Department of Commerce. A Google search for “ANAB” returns over 300,000 relevant hits. A search for “ABAC” or “American Board of Accredited Certifications” does not even yield a single relevant hit.
- Claim: “ARM 9009:2013 system accreditation is based on highly specialized standards that have been universally accepted as a mandatory requirement for suppliers, subcontractors, manufacturers of all firearms and armoring type materials….”
- Status: untrue. ARM9009 is not mandatory for any organization.
From this press release:
- Claim: “ARM 9009 system accreditation is essential to help improve the safety, reliability and performance of guns, ammo and firearm parts being manufactured in the United States.”
- Status: deceptive. Because one cannot view ARM9009, this claim cannot be verified. But beyond that, ARM9009 alleges to be a quality system certification based on ISO 9001, and not a product certification; the language of this claim appears to cross the line into product certification, by indicating it is a “performance” standard.
And from this one:
- Claim: “Due to the nature of the industry, importance of materials, manufacturing processes and security, ARM 9009 certification requires specialized audits against specific requirements, quality and delivery metrics, which is why the certification has been internationally accepted as the standard quality assurance program for firearms and armoring suppliers.”
- Status: untrue. ARM9009 has not been internationally accepted.
From the official ARM9009 FAQ:
- Claim: “ARM 9009 is now mandatory for all companies involved in the firearms and armoring sectors” and “ARM 9009:2013 system accreditation is based on highly specialized standards that have been universally accepted as a mandatory requirement for suppliers, subcontractors, manufacturers and dealers of all firearms and armoring type products.”
- Status: untrue. ARM9009 is not mandatory.
- Claim: “ARM 9009 certifications have been issued to qualified manufacturers, machine shops, metal fabricators, welding shops, plastic molders, and suppliers of various parts, components, forgings, tubing, fasteners, metals, plastics and other materials used in the production of firearms and armoring systems.”
- Status: untrue. As indicated, only four known ARM9009 certificates have been issued, three to metal fabricators, and one to a body armor company.
- Claim: “Is ARM 9009 Accredited by an Internationally Recognized Accreditation Body? ARM 9009 is accredited by a number of internationally recognized accredited bodies such as the American Board of Accredited Certifications, the Industrial Leaders Group (ILG), the Global Quality Assurance Committee (GQAC) as well as regional accreditation groups, signatories and observer committees.”
- Status: deceptive and confusing. This one is a mind-boggling head scratcher. ARM9009 alleges to be a standard, and standards are never accredited; organizations are accredited (or certified) to the standard. It is also highly unlikely that any “signatories and observer committees” — which is a puzzling set of terms to begin with — ever accredited the standard.
From the ARM9009 page:
- Claim: “ARM 9009 certification automatically qualifies you for ISO 9001 certification.”
- Status: Deceptive. ISO 9001 certification is typically provided by certification bodies accredited by an IAF signatory Accreditation Body, under international standards requiring objectivity and freedom from conflicts of interest. The Guberman machine includes companies for which he sits on all boards, and presumably manages, including his certification body and accreditation body. He certifies his own consulting clients. This is in violation of ISO standards for accreditation, and thus would not result in a qualified ISO 9001 certification, whether or not it’s tied to ARM9009. Furthermore, it raises questions as to whether ARM9009 violates ISO’s copyright and trademark for ISO 9001, because t would require ARM9009 to include the text of ISO 9001, and ISO does not allow this with bodies for whom it does not have an official liaison.
- Claim: “Video Promo” … heck, just go watch it.
- Status: deceptive in the extreme. Not only is the event clearly not filmed in “Washington,” the entire thing was shot in a studio, with a CGI background, CGI podium and CGI photographer flash effects, with an added loop of background noise to suit. It’s a complete fabrication, and because it’s presented as a serious official announcement without any notification of its falsity, it is grossly deceptive.
About Christopher Paris
Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001 and Surviving AS9100. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.