Colt to halt production of AR-15 for civilian market

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Colt, one of the nation's largest and best-known gunmakers, will stop producing AR-15s for the civilian market, the company said this week.

Exiting the civilian market is a result of decreased demand, Colt told American Military News. Colt says political pressure, such as presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke's pledge to confiscate AR-15s and AK-47s, played no role in the decision.

"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 President and CEO Dennis Veilleux said in a written statement. "Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future."

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In this Aug. 15, 2012 file photo, three variations of the AR-15 rifle are displayed at the California Department of Justice in Sacramento, Calif. On Sept. 19, 2019, Connecticut-based Colt Firearms said it was suspending production of its version of the AR-15 for the civilian market
(Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli)

Colt will, however, continue to produce AR-15 models for the military and law enforcement agencies.

"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," Veilleux said. "Currently, these high-volume contracts are absorbing all of Colt's manufacturing capacity for rifles."

If consumer demand returns, Colt said it is open to resuming production of a civilian model of the AR-15. Until then, its primary consumer offerings will be revolvers and 1911 pistols.

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