U.S. gun manufacturer Colt has announced it will stop making rifles for the civilian market, including the popular AR-15.
In a statement released Thursday, the company's chief executive officer, Dennis Veilleux, said, "over the last few years, the market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity," forcing the company to withdraw from the market. He said Colt will continue producing rifles for its military and law enforcement clients.
Veilleux said Colt will also continue "to expand our network of dealers across the country and to supply them with expanding lines of the finest quality 1911s and revolvers."
The National Rifle Associate calls Colt's AR-15 the "most popular rifle in America." It estimates there are some 8 million rifles in America.
The AR-15 rifle has come under scrutiny by gun-restriction proponents because it has been the gun of choice for recent mass murderers in the U.S.
It was used in some of the deadliest shootings in recent history, including Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 26; the Las Vegas strip that killed 58; San Bernardino, California, that killed 16; and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17.