Colt Suspending Production of AR-15 Rifles for Civilians

"We believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future," said Colt CEO Dennis Veilleux.
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Colt will suspend production of the controversial Armalite Rifle model 15, or AR-15, and focus solely on fulfilling contracts military and law enforcement.

"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 Defense LLC President and CEO Dennis Veilleux said in a statement on Thursday.

"Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future."

Veilleux added that the storied American firearms manufacturer "is committed to the Second Amendment, highly values its customers and continues to manufacture the world's finest quality firearms for the consumer market."

Colt's announcement came hours before the West Hartford, Connecticut-based company was awarded a a $41.9 million contract by the Department of Defense to manufacture guns for militaries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Oceania and the Caribbean, according to NPR

Veilleux also said that high-volume contracts such as these are "absorbing all of Colt's manufacturing capacity for rifles." 

The move comes under intense political pressure following a series mass shootings involving AR-15-style rifles, which are made by other major gunmakers including Ruger, Smith & Wesson and Heckler & Koch. 

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke has been making headlines by calling the the confiscation of military-style weapons, reports Fox News.

Democratic White House contender Beto O'Rourke, who's from El Paso, Texas, where one of those massacres occurred, said recently that would confiscate military-style weapons from gun owners if he captures the presidency.

"Yes," said O'Rourke, who doubled down on his position during a recent appearance on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time, "When it comes to AR-15s and AK-47s, weapons designed for use on a military battlefield, the high-impact, high-velocity round that is fired from those weapons. When it comes to those weapons ... the answer is yes."

Colt is just the latest brand to make a big announcement about gun availability. Walmart said it would stop selling handguns in Alaska and short-barrel rifle and handgun ammunition nationwide, while Dick's Sporting Goods pulled hunting rifles from 125 of its stores earlier this year.