Major gun-maker to stop manufacturing AR-15s for civilians; Northwest Arkansans react

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A prominent gun-maker announced it’ll stop manufacturing sporting rifles for civilians.

Retailers like Walmart, CVS and Walgreens have each taken respective stances on firearms in the last few weeks. Colt, a major gun manufacturer, announced in a press release it’ll do the same but not because of today’s political climate. Instead, the stated reason was because “the market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity.”

Still, some activist groups noted that it’s a step in the right direction.

“It’s just another step in the culture changing,” said Kaci Churchill, the Benton County Local Group Lead for Moms Demand Action. “I’m glad to see, from the business perspective, that even if our government’s leaders aren’t standing up and saying enough is enough, we’re seeing at least other people that hold certain degrees of influence doing that for us.”

Access to AR-15s and similar rifles has been a prominent topic in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election. Jessie Lopez is the owner of JT Armory in Springdale, and he said the recent trend of retailers taking stances on guns is misplaced.

“It doesn’t necessarily prevent the stuff that’s happening like the violence,” Lopez said. “I think we need to take a look at more of a mental state of a person than to take this or to take that away from people.”

Churchill said she hopes Colt’s decision reduces the number of mass shootings, even if there are still plenty of sporting rifles on the market.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but every single decision made at the corporate level, every single decision made by an individual helps,” Churchill said.

In the press release, the gun-maker announced it’ll still create sporting rifles for law enforcement and military.

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