While the government remains held hostage by a Republican Party owned by the National Rifle Association, the private sector continues to take steps on its own to curb gun violence.
According to multiple reports on Thursday, gun manufacturer Colt is suspending production of rifles, including the AR-15, for civilian use.
In a statement, the company’s president and CEO Dennis Veilleux said he believes the market for such rifles has reached “manufacturing capacity.”
“At the end of the day, we believe it is good sense to follow consumer demand and to adjust as market dynamics change,” Veilleux said.
Colt would still fulfill its “significant military and law enforcement contracts,” and the company was adamant that they are still a “stout supporter of the Second Amendment.”
It’s smart business to be in favor of gun safety
It’s unclear exactly what Colt’s motive is for suspending production of these military-style weapons for civilian use, but it’s probably a stretch to assume that the firearm manufacturer is suddenly a champion for gun safety.
Still, the gunmaker’s move is just the latest in a flurry of other steps taken by the private sector to do what the government has refused to do, even as the body count from these mass shootings continues to grow.
Most notably, Walmart – the world’s largest retailer – has thrown itself into the gun debate following a massacre at one of its stores in El Paso last month.
As The New York Times reported, Walmart announced it “would stop selling ammunition used for handguns and military-style weapons, completely end the sale of handguns and discourage anyone from carrying weapons in his stores (even in ‘open carry’ states).”
Walmart isn’t alone. Other major chains, like CVS, Kroger and Walgreens, have requested that customers not carry firearms in their stores anymore, even if state law says they’re allowed to.
Of course, all of this falls well short of what needs to be done in the United States to take on the gun violence crisis. What it does demonstrate, though, is that being on the right side of this issue is good business – and that the NRA is gradually losing its grip on the gun debate.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.