Colt suspends production of AR-15 for civilian market

Gunmaker Colt says it is suspending its production of rifles for the civilian market including the popular AR-15.

Colt’s chief executive officer, Dennis Veilleux, says it is not permanently ending production but believes there is already an adequate supply of sporting rifles on the market. He said in a statement Thursday the company will concentrate on fulfilling military and law enforcement contracts with its rifle manufacturing.

The West Hartford, Connecticut-based company has received some criticism from gun rights advocates for moving away from the civilian market.

“Colt is claiming that they’re ceasing production due to an access supply; that could be true,” said Aaaron Forum, owner of Shoot Center in Cape Coral. “Speculation is that it has something to do with political pressure.”

Forum said gun owners are unhappy with Colt more for their view the gun maker is motivated by political pressure, no so much that Colt’s AR-15 production will cease.

“Their response is, ‘I’m never going to buy Colt again.’ That’s what we’ve seen,” Forum said. “We’ve seen actually a little bit of anger, not so much that they can’t get this particular product, but more because of the perception that they are doing it for political reasons and not for economic reasons.”

Gun owner John Lambeth views Colt’s decision as a business move.

“Every business has to make a decision on what they’er going to sell, how long it’s profitable,” Lambeth said. I believe that’s all it is.”

Colt CEO Veilleux said in the statement the company remains committed to the Second Amendment and is adapting to consumer demand.

A national gun control debate has focused on access to AR-15s and other assault-style rifles because of their use in mass shootings.

“It’s tragic that things like that happen,” gun owner James Wyatt said. “But it’s an easy rifle to acquire. It’s one of the most popular rifles that anyone can purchase in the country, but a shot gun will do far more damage.”

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
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