Friday 18 October 2019

We'll stop AR-15 rifle production for civilians, says Colt

The company said it will focus instead on fulfilling contracts with military and police customers for rifles. Photo: PA
The company said it will focus instead on fulfilling contracts with military and police customers for rifles. Photo: PA

Pat Eaton-Robb

Gun-maker Colt is suspending its production of rifles for the civilian market, including the popular AR-15 used in several mass shootings.

Colt attributed the move to changes in consumer demand and a market already saturated with similar weapons.

But some observers said it risked alienating its customer base if it was seen to be giving in to advocates of gun control.

The company said it will focus instead on fulfilling contracts with military and police customers for rifles.

"Over the last few years, the market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity," Colt's chief executive officer, Dennis Veilleux, said.

"We believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future."

Mr Veilleux said the company remains committed to the Second Amendment, which enshrines the right to bear arms. It is expanding its lines of pistols and revolvers.

Colt's decision seems driven by business considerations rather than politics, said Adam Winkler, a gun policy expert at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.

However, he added: "If they [buyers] think a company is disrespecting their identity or giving in to the other side, Colt's likely going to see serious damage to its other firearms brands too."

The debate on gun control has focused in particular on assault-style rifles like AR-15s. Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke has been pushing for mandatory rifle buybacks over the last few weeks.

Irish Independent

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