Colt, a USA firearms company that traces its history to the 1830s, announced it would suspend the production of rifles for the civilian market - including the AR-15, a weapon infamous for its popularity among the country's mass shooters. The company's cheapest AR-15, for example, is almost $1,000. Given the level of manufacturing, Colt believes there is "adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future".
Colt made its mark in the rifle market in the 1960s after buying the design and trademarks associated with ArmaLite's select-fire AR-15, which was adopted by the U.S. military as the M16 assault rifle.
"There have been numerous articles recently published about Colt's participation in the commercial rifle market".
Police Acting Superintendent Mike McIlraith shows MPs in Wellington an AR-15 style rifle similar to one of the weapons a gunman used to kill 51 people at two Christchurch mosques. Colt will still manufacture other consumer guns, including pistols and revolvers, and it will continue to expand its network of dealers.
Hours after the statement was released, the Department of Defense announced that it had awarded Colt a $41.9 million contract to manufacture rifles for sales to militaries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Oceania and the Caribbean. In fact, he says the current contracts they have with law enforcement and armed forces are "absorbing all of Colt's manufacturing capacity for rifles".
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"At the end of the day, we believe it is good sense to follow consumer demand and to adjust as market dynamics change", he said.
Mr Veilleux said Colt remains committed to the Second Amendment right for Americans to bear arms, and was adapting to consumer demand.
In a statement, Dennis Veilleux, president and CEO of the 180-year-old, Connecticut-based manufacturer, explained the company's reasons for the move, which had been reported in trade and other publications.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke has called for a ban and mandatory buybacks for assault-style weapons.