There is a certain number of the pro-gun crowd that’s been out for blood over the last few months and their latest target is the company that gave us the AR-15, Illinois-based ArmaLite, Inc. After Olympic Arms’ bold statement that they will no longer sell to the State of New York due to New York’s SAFE Act, other gun companies have quickly joined the ranks of “you’re either with us or against us.” Soon after, LaRue Tactical, York Arms, Templar Custom, Extreme Firepower, Inc., Cheaper Than Dirt, Spike’s Tactical, Barrett, and DoubleStar have all released information regarding the same policy—whether it be a new or old policy.
Olympic Arms’ press release concludes with this statement:
Olympic Arms invites all firearms manufacturers, distributors and firearms dealers to join us in this action to refuse to do business with the State of New York. We must stand together, or we shall surely fall divided.
Well, gun owners took the company to task. ArmaLite, Inc. was flooded with e-mail and comments asking the company if they would follow the same policy. Many of the messages sent were duplicate copies, leading ArmaLite employees to believe it was spam. Dealing with irate and sometimes hateful people wears on a person after all—believe me I know—and a sales rep from ArmaLite finally had enough and wrote a curt response to one of the messages.
Of course, the less than chipper response from ArmaLite made the gun forum rounds, leading ArmaLite president Mark Westrom to publically apologize on the sales rep’s behalf. Not only that, but Westrom posted in the industry forum of AR15.com ArmaLite’s policy of selling to LEOs in restricted states. Here is his response:
ArmaLite is continuing a policy put into place when California first banned our rifles. That policy remains: 1. We will not sell to those states which deny it’s honorable citizens the right to own ArmaLite’s.
2. We do not halt sales to individual officers even in problematic states. I am a former police officer myself, and the staffer who stimulated the recent anger is a currently serving one. We are well familiar with the fact that most rifles serving police officers are purchased by the officers themselves, and that they shouldn’t be punished for the actions of their political elite.
We consider sales to those sate subdivisions which are not engaged or potentially engaged with disarming its citizens. The DNR and Forestry Departments, for instance, sometimes serve in remote areas that conceal drug farms and their officers deserve good hardware.
3. We will not sell to those lower political subdivisions that deny their honorable citizens the right to own ArmaLites. Chicago, for instance, prohibits its citizens from owning ArmaLites within the city limits so we make no effort to sell into that city. We have many friends on the Chicago Police Department and have continued to sell to them individually.
Our observation is that most county sheriffs disagree with banning sales of our rifles and many publicly refuse to enforce such laws. We sell to those departments and to their deputies, but will not sell to those county departments headed by sheriffs who would deny their citizens the same rights.
In short, Americans need not worry that ArmaLite is selling to those who betray them.
As you can see by reading posts on the topic, some readers have been harsh with their criticism of ArmaLite. It was in response to this atmosphere that my staffer reacted harshly. He’s come to me and apologized and I personally am passing my own apology along with his.
But don’t be mistaken, ArmaLite is strongly involved with both personal, corporate, and political efforts at the state, national, and international level to protect our civil rights. And we’ll continue to support your shooting needs as the situation moves forward.
I believe the issue of gun control is black and white. You are either pro-gun or anti-gun and right now Americans have to pick sides. How ArmaLite chooses to do business is up to them, but they aren’t betraying gun owners. Will I boycott ArmaLite? No. Just like I won’t boycott Magpul if they chose to stay in Colorado. There is more to these decisions than just appeasing a few members of the vocal minority. The more we internally fight about these menial issues, the more the anti-gun crowd wins. Don’t let them succeed in pitting us against each other. Now is the time we stand united and not bicker amongst ourselves.
What do you think about ArmaLite’s decision? Tell us in the comment section.
The opinions and statements contained within this article are solely those of the author and in no way should be construed to be reflective of Cheaper Than Dirt, its management or employees.