Gun-maker Colt is suspending its production of rifles for the civilian market including the popular AR-15, the company said Thursday in a shift it attributed to changes in consumer demand and a market already saturated with similar weapons. The company said it will focus instead on fulfilling contracts with military and police customers for rifles, the AP reports. "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's chief executive officer, Dennis Veilleux, said in a statement. "Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future."
Veilleux said the company, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2016, remains committed to the Second Amendment. He said the company is expanding its lines of pistols and revolvers. Despite a national debate on gun control, Colt's decision seems driven by business considerations rather than politics, said Adam Winkler, a gun policy expert at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. Given "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.
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