The official response is ‘it’s just business’. But is there actually more to the story?
Colt is announcing that it’s hugely popular AR-15 will no longer be produced in its civilian version.
Not only has the AR-15 been the most popular rifle of its kind in production — due in no small part to the many different options for customization — but it has also become the lightning rod for the national debate about gun ownership. Even guns that weren’t actually made by them were tagged with the description ‘AR-15 style rifle’.
It’s the gun ‘Beto’ has pledged to come for with a resounding ‘Hell yes’.
The left loves to point out when one of these is found in the hands of a murderous thug, shooting his way through a crowd of civilians in some gun-free zone or another.
But when someone carrying one rushes to the rescue — like the NRA instructor that ventilated the guy who shot dead most of a church in Sutherland Springs, it somehow doesn’t make the national news.
Here’s Colt’s official statement.
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (September 19th, 2019) – There have been numerous articles recently published about Colt’s participation in the commercial rifle market. 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. Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future.
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. 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.
At the end of the day, we believe it is good sense to follow consumer demand and to adjust as market dynamics change. 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.
Dennis Veilleux, President and Chief Executive Officer
So, they are essentially saying there has been a glut of production and they will cease producing more until sales catch up with what has already been manufactured.
Could that reason be legit? Possibly.
Here’s the argument in favor of that explanation:
First, MSN reports.
“Colt is your bread and butter that’s been used by police and law enforcement for a long time,” Harris said. “But they’ve been pushed out of the market when it comes to being the best bang for your buck.”
“We don’t even stock that many,” he added.
Colt has been the standard for many gun owners. It produced one of the first widely used semi-automatic pistols, which is known as the Colt 1911, that is still sold to this day.
And another source reminds us just how rocky Colt’s business model has been over the years.
“Given these sales and the history of Colt being a completely disorganized, dysfunctional company that goes into bankruptcy and can’t keep anything going properly, my assumption is that this is a business decision that is being driven by their own business problems,” he said.
Still, Winkler said the company’s decision risks alienating and angering its remaining customer base.
“We’ve seen in the past that when gun manufacturers are viewed to have given in to gun-safety advocates, gun owners will boycott them and really hurt their business,” he said. “If they think a company like Colt 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.”
It MIGHT simply be as straightforward as that. Or there could be another reason.
Are they caving to political pressure?
Despite their statement, experts wonder whether the company made the decision with other factors in mind.
“The public is getting very alarmed about what’s happening with assault rifles in the hands of potential mass shooters,” John Donohue, a Stanford Law professor with expertise in gun policy, tells TIME. “Colt may just be feeling better to get out of that particular market, and they’re offering this purely economic manufacturing argument rather than addressing the political realities right now as the justification for this decision.”
So what do you think?
Was it simply business? Or was this a case of them caving to political pressure?