With the Democrats increasingly embracing a federal ban on “assault-style” rifles and a mandatory gun “buy-back” program, Connecticut-based gunmaker Colt announced this week that it is suspending its production of rifles for civilians, including AR-15s, the most popular gun in America.
In a statement published on Colt’s website and promoted on social media Thursday, Colt President and CEO Dennis Veilleux said the company has decided to temporarily suspend production of rifles for the civilian market, but made a point of noting that the decision is not motivated by a political agenda and that the company remains “committed to the Second Amendment.” Instead, he explained, Colt has determined that the sporting rifles market has reached “significant excess manufacturing capacity.”
“There have been numerous articles recently published about Colt’s participation in the commercial rifle market,” the statement reads. “Some of these articles have incorrectly stated or implied that Colt is not committed to the consumer market. 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.”
“The fact of the matter is that over the last few years, the market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity,” Veilleux continued. “Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future.”
Colt’s president goes on to explain that the company has decided to focus its rifle production entirely on fulfilling contracts with the military and law enforcement.
“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 statement continues. “Currently, these high-volume contracts are absorbing all of Colt’s manufacturing capacity for rifles. 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.”
He concludes by once again stressing the company’s pro-Second Amendment stance. “At the end of the day, we believe it is good sense to follow consumer demand and to adjust as market dynamics change,” Veilleux writes. “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. ”
In its report on the announcement, the Associated Press notes that Colt “has received some criticism from gun rights advocates for moving away from the civilian market” and that pressure on “assault-style” weapons has ratcheted up in recent weeks.
Most prominent of those calling for the banning of “weapons of war” — particularly AR-15s and AK-47s — is Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who has shifted the focus of his struggling campaign almost entirely to promoting radical gun control. Among his proposals is a mandatory “buy-back” program for all “assault-style” rifles, though the candidate has failed to adequately define the term.