Gun-maker Colt has taken a beating in recent years by firearms enthusiasts who question whether the company has the ability to innovate – and whether they’re actually supportive of the Second Amendment.
The latest move by company leadership has added fuel to that fire. And it’s got people questioning whether it’s a business move… or a political one, pandering to states like Connecticut and presidential hopefuls like O’Rourke.
Here’s the deal. The company announced Thursday that it’s suspending its production of rifles for the civilian market. That includes the popular AR-15.
The company said it’s because of a shift in consumer demand, and argues the market already saturated with similar weapons.
Their new direction? They said they’ll focus on fulfilling contracts with military and police customers for rifles.
“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.
On Thursday, he issued a written statement.
“Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future.”
The company emerged from bankruptcy in 2016 – but some argue that this is the very move that can drive them back into it.
Veilleux promises Colt “remains committed to the Second Amendment” and will its lines of pistols and revolvers.
Adam Winkler is a gun policy expert at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, and he suggests that Colt’s decision is about business and not politics.
That’s based on raw numbers.
Take a look at FBI statistics – they show more than 2.3 million people applied for background checks to purchase guns in August.
That’s way up from just over 1.8 million in July.
Now while those applications are direct gun sales, they are the closest statistic we have to tracking them. And they’ve been rising steadily.
There was a slight decline after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 – it’s what the gun industry has referred to the “Trump slump.”
According to Winkler, gun sales usually go up when guy buyers feel their access to such weapons are being threatened.
“Given these sales and 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.
But he points out that the company’s decision risks alienating and angering its remaining customer base.
“We’ve seen in the past that when gun manufacturers are viewed to have given in to gun-safety advocates, gun owners will boycott them and really hurt their business,” he said. “If they think a company like Colt is disrespecting their identity or giving in to the other side, Colt’s likely going to see serious damage to its other firearms brands too.”
AR-15’s have been at the center of the debate on gun control.
The parents of a young woman killed in the 2017 Las Vegas massacre have gone after Colt and seven other gun manufacturers, along with gun shops in Nevada and Utah. They filed a wrongful death lawsuit in July against, arguing their weapons are designed to be easily modified to fire like automatic weapons.
Remington is also facing a lawsuit in Connecticut. This one involves liability for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in which a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle was used to kill 20 first graders and six educators on Dec. 14, 2012.
Just last week, a second presidential candidate calls for sweeping gun confiscations.
Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker on Friday criticized what he called “fear-mongering” about police showing up to confiscate legally owned assault weapons such as the AR-15 rifle.
Once again, for the record, an AR-15 is not an assault rifle.
Booker said, “We’ve seen around this world, countries that have said enough of these assault rifles. They dealt with the problem that got them off their streets. These weapons should not be in this country.”
Booker said he supports the policy proposed by fellow candidate Beto O’Rourke, who made headlines during this week’s Democratic debate for pledging:
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
The former El Paso congressman supports a so-called “mandatory-buyback program” for AR-15 and AK-47 rifles, a move that goes further than the voluntary-buyback program other Democratic 2020 contenders have endorsed.
“You have to set up a system. Yeah, that is mandatory,” Booker said.
He explained that he would ban assault-style weapons using the 1986 National Firearms Act as a model.
“You have to set up a system to pull them off. But this idea, this imagery that the fear-mongers and demagogues try to say of somehow armed police officers showing up and confiscating weapons, that’s the fear-mongering.”
That’s fear-mongering? Umm…Senator, are you aware of the fact that there is probably not a single AR-15 owner that is going to voluntarily hand over their guns?
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O’Rourke can call it a mandatory buy-back all he wants, but he said it himself. “Hell yes, we’re going to take your guns.”
Take, not request. Take, not recommend.
How precisely does Booker think the weapons are going to get recovered under this mandatory buy-back? If they do not surrender them voluntarily, how many choices remain Cory? The gun-grabbing fairy? A magic spell?
For folks like Booker and O’Rourke, who live in these mythical worlds of socialist utopias, a fairy or a spell might be what they are envisioning.
The reality is this: the only way most gun owners are going to comply is through legal intervention. Who will enact that?
We have already seen situations where law enforcement officials are saying that they will wait until the Supreme Court rules on gun laws before they start enforcing them.
Some sheriffs in several conservative Washington counties have refused to enforce the state’s sweeping restrictions on semi-automatic rifles until the courts decide whether they are constitutional, reported Fox News.
The November measure raised the minimum age for buying semi-automatic firearms from 18 to 21, requires buyers to first pass a safety course and added expanded background checks and gun storage requirements. As a result, the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit in federal court arguing the measure is unconstitutional.
Due to the pending litigation, sheriffs in twelve, mostly rural, counties have decided to take a “wait and see” posture. They will not enforce the law until the courts decide on the challenge. The counties include Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan, Cowlitz, Douglas, Benton, Pacific, Stevens, Yakima, Wahkiakum, Mason and Klickitat. Moreover, thepolice chief of Republic, Loren Culp, followed the sheriffs’ route.
“I swore an oath to defend our citizens and their constitutionally protected rights,” Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones told the Associated Press. “I do not believe the popular vote overrules that.”
The measure was highly unpopular in some regions. Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers said 75 percent of voters in his county voted against the bill and called the new rules unenforceable.
Washington’s initiative passed nine months after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schoolin Florida, killing 17 people. Supporters of the measure said they were disappointed with their sheriffs’ comments but noted that they don’t have to enforce the law until July 1, when the rules go into effect.
“The political grandstanding is disheartening,” Renee Hopkins, the chief executive of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, told the Associated Press. “If they do not [run the background checks], we will have a huge problem.”
However, Hopkins might be the one grandstanding since the suit doesn’t challenge enhanced background checks or the training requirements, according to the report.
Hopkins, whose group pushed for the initiative, added that only a small number of Washington’s top law enforcement officials spoke against the measure.
King and Clark County sheriffs have said they will enforce the measure while it was being challenged in court.
The NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle after the bill was passed, arguing the measure violates the Second and 14th Amendments of the Constitution and gun sellers’ rights under the Commerce Clause.
A sheriff in Colorado says he would rather go to prison than enforce a new proposed gun law, citing the measure as unconstitutional, according to a reportfrom Fox News.
“It has so many constitutional questions I can’t go forward in good faith and carry out a law that I feel puts constituents’ constitutional rights at risk,” said Weld County Sheriff Steven Reams.
Reams is referring to the “Red Flag” gun laws, which would allow judges to remove guns from the possession of citizens who pose a serious threat to themselves or others. The bill has already passed the state legislature and is expected to be signed into law. The vote passed by just one vote.
According to the measure, family members or others that are connected with the individual in question would be able to petition a judge for the removal of any firearms from the household. The denied access to firearms would be enacted for 364 days and includes purchases or possession. They would, however, be allowed to file an appeal to have the decision reversed.
Reams is a staunch Republican who more than believes in American’s Second Amendment rights. And he’s not going to become a party to those who are trying to stifle those rights. He has made it clear that he will not help enforce this bill.
“They could sentence me to my own jail,” Reams said, “fine me, or hold a contempt hearing to further this argument along, and honestly I think any of those possibilities are out there.”
Critics of the bill say these “Red Flag” laws pose a significant threat to constitutional rights. If someone else can be the judge of whether or not you can own a gun, everyone’s rights are at risk of being infringed.
Governor Jared Polis criticized the sheriff for taking a strong stance against enforcing the law. “The sheriff is also not a law-making position in our state, it is a law enforcement division,” he said during a press conference last week.
A similar bill has been working its way through the New Mexico legislature.
This isn’t the first we’ve seen of officers and other law enforcement officials taking a stand against unconstitutional gun laws. Earlier this year, a group of sheriffs from across the country banded together with one message – I will not comply.
We also know that red flag laws have gotten, and will continue to, get people killed.
In November of 2018, Anne Arundel County police officers arrived at the home of Gary Willis, 61 to serve an ERPO order. Officers say that Willis answered the door, at 5 am, holding a handgun. When officers began to serve him the order, Willis became irate and grabbed his gun.
One of the officers tried to take the gun from Willis, but instead Willis fired the gun. The second officer fired a gun, striking Willis. He died at the scene. It was never made clear who had called police concerning Willis, or what threat he allegedly bore.
In this instance, it was a civilian that lost his life. But are red flag laws needlessly endangering our law enforcement officials as well? The answer is a definite yes.
Good luck Mr. Booker and Mr. O’Rourke. It is rather humorous that you believe that we cannot send law enforcement door to door to round up dangerous criminals or people not in the country legally, but you believe that you can do so to round up millions of weapons.
Let’s not forget Booker’s press stunt in Mexico in July, when he escorted five “asylum seekers” across the United States border in an act of defiance against the Trump administration’s orders.
Courthouse News’ David Lee reports that the five women had already been detained after illegally crossing into the United States. They had been returned to Mexico under President Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols while they waited for an asylum hearing to occur.
They have legitimate fears,” Booker argues. “This policy that we have is pushing people who are already vulnerable, who are already targeted, back into a dangerous situation. The stories of the violence they have endured are heartbreaking and unacceptable.”
However Senator Booker feels that his opinions supersede the executive order set by the President. He, along with a team of immigration lawyers, met with immigrants at Centro de Atencion, a Mexican-run aid center, according to Lee.
Booker spoke of the women’s tragedies saying:
“These women have really horrific stories … they are survivors of sexual violence, of attack” and “they are survivors of sexual violence, of attacks”.
Numerous press were on hand to capture Booker’s dramatic display, no doubt having been invited to the Customs and Border Protection checkpoint in advance by Booker’s campaign. The women themselves attempted to shield their faces and identities from the welcomed press with envelopes and folders.
Booker further blames President Trump claiming:
“This crisis that we are seeing is because Donald Trump took executive action … he has done numerous things that violate our values, that makes us less safe, undermines our human rights and ultimately costs us more taxpayer dollars.”
The five women were brought to an American shelter to await their asylum hearings as opposed to the Mexican run facility according to Washington Examiner’s Mike Brest and Emily Larsen.
Lee further reports that Booker had, only the day prior, released his own immigration plan should be become the 46th President of the United States. The immigration plan was largely contingent on executive order by Booker.
Cory further justified his actions of bringing the five previously deported women into the country by blaming immigration authorities. An official email from his campaign read:
“Cory observed the crossing, their interactions with federal immigration authorities, and the disastrous impact of President Trump’s cruel immigration policy as the migrants attempted to avoid the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) implemented by the Trump administration.”
Booker’s is far from the most extreme 2020 Democrat candidate for the presidency.
Julian Castro, the former HUD Secretary under the Obama administration, has openly called for revocation of federal law which criminalizes border crossing.
At the Democratic Debate on June 26, Castro took to the podium calling out the names of black men and women who had been killed by police. Castro has also openly states that he plans to give healthcare to undocumented immigrants, according to Politico’s Bianca Quilantan.
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