US gunmaker Colt suspends production of AR-15 for civilian market

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 13: Two Colt AR-15's, both now legal, sit on the counter of Dave's Guns September 13, 2004 in Denver, Colorado. The weapon on the right has a bayonet mount, flash suppressor and a collapsible stock, the gun on the left does not. Between 1994 and September 13, 2004 the gun on the right could only be sold to law enforcement and military, now it is legal for civilians to purchase. The magazines between the rifles are for a Glock handgun and do not fit into the rifles pictured. (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Gunmaker Colt says it is suspending its production of rifles for the civilian market including the popular AR-15.

Colt’s chief executive officer, Dennis Veilleux, says it is not permanently ending production but believes there is already an adequate supply of sporting rifles on the market. He said in a statement Thursday the company will concentrate on fulfilling military and law enforcement contracts with its rifle manufacturing.

The West Hartford, Connecticut-based company has received some criticism from gun rights advocates for moving away from the civilian market.

Veilleux said in the statement the company remains committed to the Second Amendment and is adapting to consumer demand.

A national gun control debate has focused on access to AR-15s and other assault-style rifles because of their use in mass shootings.

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