Major gun-maker to stop manufacturing AR-15s for civilians; Northwest Arkansans react


BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A prominent gun-maker announced it’ll stop manufacturing sporting rifles for civilians.

Retailers like Walmart, CVS and Walgreens have each taken respective stances on firearms in the last few weeks. Colt, a major gun manufacturer, announced in a press release it’ll do the same but not because of today’s political climate. Instead, the stated reason was because “the market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity.”

Still, some activist groups noted that it’s a step in the right direction.

“It’s just another step in the culture changing,” said Kaci Churchill, the Benton County Local Group Lead for Moms Demand Action. “I’m glad to see, from the business perspective, that even if our government’s leaders aren’t standing up and saying enough is enough, we’re seeing at least other people that hold certain degrees of influence doing that for us.”

Access to AR-15s and similar rifles has been a prominent topic in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election. Jessie Lopez is the owner of JT Armory in Springdale, and he said the recent trend of retailers taking stances on guns is misplaced.

“It doesn’t necessarily prevent the stuff that’s happening like the violence,” Lopez said. “I think we need to take a look at more of a mental state of a person than to take this or to take that away from people.”

Churchill said she hopes Colt’s decision reduces the number of mass shootings, even if there are still plenty of sporting rifles on the market.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but every single decision made at the corporate level, every single decision made by an individual helps,” Churchill said.

In the press release, the gun-maker announced it’ll still create sporting rifles for law enforcement and military.

Full statement from Colt:

“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.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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