Colt Suspending Production Of AR-15 Rifles For Civilians

Colt Suspending Production Of AR-15 Rifles For Civilians
The gun maker's CEO said the current gun market and a slew of military and law enforcement contracts are behind the decision.

Gun maker Colt said on Thursday it would be effectively suspending production of certain rifles for the civilian market, including the AR-15.

It explained the decision in a statement, which reassured customers that it is "committed to the Second Amendment" and will continue to produce firearms for the consumer market.

CEO Dennis Veilleux wrote: "The fact of the matter is that over the last few years, the market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity. Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future."

Veilleux also said the "high volume" of "significant military and law enforcement contracts" had taken up all of its manufacturing capacity for rifles.

In an interview with Shooting Illustrated published last week, a Colt official said, "We've seen a pretty sharp decline in rifle sales, given our price points, resulting in significant inventory build-up held by our distributors."

A series of recent mass shootings have increased calls for tighter gun control. Presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke has mentioned the AR-15 specifically, saying at the Democratic presidential debate this month, "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47, and we're not going to allow it to be used against your fellow Americans anymore."

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.