The gunmaker Colt Manufacturing announced it is temporarily suspending the production of certain rifles for the civilian market including the controversial AR-15.
The announcement came Thursday from the company’s president and chief executive who said there is an “adequate supply” of the rifles on the market and that it is halting the production of the semi-automatic weapon which has been used in several mass shootings.
(Video: YouTube/CBS Evening News)
“The fact of the matter is that over the last few years, the market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity,” Colt CEO Dennis Veilleux said in a statement Thursday.
“Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future,” he added.
The gun-maker based in West Hartford, Connecticut, which holds the trademark to the name AR-15, made the announcement amid the renewed gun debate following a series of recent mass shootings, including the 2017 Las Vegas shootings, the 2018 Parkland, Florida high school shooting and overseas at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.
But Veilleux clarified that Colt will continue manufacturing its rifles to fulfill military and law enforcement contracts.
“On the other hand, our warfighters and law enforcement personnel continue to demand Colt rifles and we are fortunate enough to have been awarded significant military and law enforcement contracts,” the company president said.
“Currently, these high-volume contracts are absorbing all of Colt’s manufacturing capacity for rifles,” he added. “Colt’s commitment to the consumer markets, however, is unwavering. We continue to expand our network of dealers across the country and to supply them with expanding lines of the finest quality 1911s and revolvers.”
Veilleux made it clear, however, that the change in production does not affect Colt’s commitment to the Second Amendment.
“We want to assure you that Colt is committed to the Second Amendment, highly values its customers and continues to manufacture the world’s finest quality firearms for the consumer market,” he said in the statement.
“At the end of the day, we believe it is good sense to follow consumer demand and to adjust as market dynamics change. Colt has been a stout supporter of the Second Amendment for over 180 years, remains so, and will continue to provide its customers with the finest quality firearms in the world,” Veilleux concluded.
Democratic presidential contender Beto O’Rourke tweeted news of the Colt announcement and retweeted an NRA statement from last week that called him the “AR-15 salesman of the month.”
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 19, 2019
The former congressman, who is from El Paso, Texas where a gunman shot and killed 22 people at a Walmart last month, declared that if he won the 2020 election, he would confiscate military-style weapons from gun owners.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said at the Democratic primary debate.
— michelekirkBPR (@michelekirkBPR) September 13, 2019
“When it comes to AR-15s and AK-47s, weapons designed for use on a military battlefield, the high-impact, high-velocity round that is fired from those weapons. When it comes to those weapons … the answer is yes,” he said in a recent appearance on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time.”
Colt’s announcement came amid growing pressure on gun manufacturers and dealers in the wake of the mass shootings. Walmart announced recently that it would stop selling short-barrel rifle and handgun ammunition in its stores across the U.S. and would end the sale of handguns in Alaska.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 3, 2019
Walmart made the announcement earlier this month while insisting that it was committed to its “long heritage” of “serving responsible hunters and sportsmen and women.”