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Colt's Controversy: How the Firearms Brand Stirred Up Debate

By    |   Monday, 20 April 2015 02:57 PM

If Samuel Colt had lived long enough to see it, the post-Civil War slogan, “Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal,” was probably something in which the gun inventor would have reveled. But despite that acknowledgement, the gun maker has not been without controversy throughout the years.

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The history of Colt is a long one, extending back more than 160 years. It is also wrapped in many of the Second Amendment and personal defense issues that have walked hand-in-hand with firearm manufacturing throughout U.S. history.

The irony of Colt Manufacturing Co.’s headquarters location in Hartford, Connecticut, isn’t lost to Wayne Drash of CNN. The factory is located only 50 miles from the site of the Sandy Hook School shootings of 2012, which took the lives of 26 students and teachers. It was the deadliest mass shooting at a high school in the country’s history, and renewed gun-control debate nationally, a debate that directly affects the bottom line of gun manufacturers, including Colt.

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The sign at the door of the Colt factory displays a gun with a slash through it: "No loaded or unauthorized firearms beyond this point,” reported Drash. The sign proved one thing. Gun control is an issue everywhere today. That includes a facility that produces over 100,000 AR-15 semi-auto rifles annually, CEO Dennis Veilleux told CNN.

The AR-15 is one of the high-profile firearms at the heart of gun-control controversy. Its  commercial success has helped keep the struggling manufacturer afloat in recent years, but it is a gun that acts as a lightning rod in any conversation about the right to bear arms.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy had choice words directed at the gun industry after the Newtown killings.

"What this is about is the ability of the gun industry to sell as many guns to as many people as possible, even if they're deranged, even if they're mentally ill, even if they have a criminal background," he told CNN. "They don't care. They want to sell guns."

The gun-control debate encompasses personal liberties, child safety, government reach, education, perception, and good old-fashioned business concerns and jobs. The latter is manufacturing’s latest move as the industry adapt to pressures from various groups, the media, and lawmakers as they respond to shifts in the overall climate.

Beretta, for example, set to move a manufacturing plant and 300 jobs from Maryland to Tennessee this year, primarily because Maryland passed the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, which bans many semiautomatics and guns magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, Forbes reported. Colt may be moving production of the AR-15 from Connecticut to Texas in the near future. These are high-stake business decisions that involve millions of dollars and numerous jobs, and Colt isn’t the only one entangled in the ongoing controversy.

“We have decided that it is more prudent from the point of view of our future welfare to move the Maryland production lines in their entirety to the new Tennessee facility,” Beretta GM Jeff Cooper told Forbes.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.

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If Samuel Colt had lived long enough to see it, the post-Civil War slogan, “Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal,” was probably something in which the gun inventor would have reveled.
guns, colt, gun control
Monday, 20 April 2015 02:57 PM
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