News & Politics

Colt to Stop Manufacturing AR-15 Rifles for Consumer Market... for Now?

Second Amendment supporter Steve Thacker carries an AR-15-style weapon as he talks to the media during a protest on Sunday, July 17, 2016, in Cleveland. The Republican National Convention starts Monday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Colt’s Manufacturing Company, LLC, which manufactures the AR-15 rifle, “has announced it’s exiting the consumer rifle market as demand for high-powered, semi-automatic guns wanes,” according to CNN, but this is not necessarily a permanent ending of production.

In a press release published Thursday, Colt president and CEO Dennis Veilleux maintained the company is still committed to the consumer rifle market, despite media reports suggesting otherwise. “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.” According to Veilleux, in recent years, “the market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity.” The company believes they have “adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future,” suggesting that production will resume once they believe the demand is there.

During the last Democratic presidential debate, Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke said unequivocally, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” This week, an Arizona gun store launched a “Beto Special” for AR-15s and sold out in four hours. Seems like there is still a demand to me.

That said, military and law enforcement rifles remain in production at Colt, Veilleux explained. “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,” he said. “Currently, these high-volume contracts are absorbing all of Colt’s manufacturing capacity for rifles.”

Veilleux says Colt still has an “unwavering” commitment to the consumer market.  “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,” he added.

AR-15 style rifles are available from a large number of manufacturers besides Colt.