Weapon manufacturer Colt ceases production of AR-15 assault rifles for civilians

The CEO says the market is saturated, without mentioning the frequent use of these weapons in mass shootings in the United States.

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The legendary American arms manufacturer Colt ceases the production of AR-15 assault rifles for the general public on the grounds that the market is saturated. "In recent years, the market for modern sports rifles has been characterized by obviously excessive production capacities", said CEO Dennis Veilleux in a statement Thursday, September 19.

For this reason, "We believe that the supply of sporting guns is sufficient"he added, adding that his company would continue to manufacture assault rifles for the army and law enforcement, and produce his famous revolvers and pistols 1911 for civilians.

In his statement, Mr. Veilleux never mentioned the use of AR-15 assault rifles in large-scale shootings. On the contrary, he insists on "Attachment" of his company "Second amendment" of the US Constitution, interpreted as guaranteeing the right to bear arms.

For the civilian market, Colt developed the AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle derived from the US Army's M16. His name has become a generic term for this type of assault rifle widely used in the United States where he equips many hunters and shooting enthusiasts.

A weapon at the center of recent mass shootings

But AR-15s were used to commit killings, such as in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut (26 deaths, including 20 children) or in 2018 in Parkland High School in Florida (17 deaths). After a summer of mourning by new killings in Texas and Ohio, several voices rose to demand a ban on assault rifles, as was the case between 1994 and 2004.

"Of course we're going (come) take your AR-15s " among those who own it, has launched the candidate for the Democratic primary Beto O'Rourke during a debate with rivals, attracting the wrath, among others, the National Riffle Association (NRA).

Each killings revives the arms debate in the United States, without leading to any meaningful action to date because of the NRA's hold on a large part of the political class. But some actors act on their side. Distribution giant Walmart, which stopped selling AR-15s in 2015, halted the sale of semi-automatic ammunition after the murder of 22 people in one of its stores in El Paso on August 3 .

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As recalled by the news site Axios, based on the figures of Mother Jones, there have been, since 1999, 115 mass shootings (defined as an attack in a public place where at least 4 people are killed with a firearm) during which 941 people were killed and 1,431 injured. In 32 attacks, the attacker used a semi-automatic rifle. But these attacks caused 40% of all deaths and 69% of all injuries. Since 2017, 12 of the 31 mass shootings involved assault rifles, which caused 39% of deaths and 92% of injuries.

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