Colt Manufacturing Led Charge For Gun Control In 1990s & Now Bankrupt

By AWR Hawkins

Colt the Legend Continues
Colt the Legend Continues
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Washington DC – -(Ammoland.com)- Amid all the reports about Colt Defense, formally Colt Manufacturing, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week, one thing has been missing–Ronald L. Stewart spent his time as Colt CEO (1996-1998) pushing gun control and suggesting overarching federal regulation over guns would be better than state-by-state variations in gun laws.

The synopsis–Colt manufacturing led charge for gun control in the 1990s and the company is in bankruptcy in 2015.

On July 13, 1998, Philly.com reported that Stewart was “[advocating] a comprehensive federal firearms law, including the creation of a federal gun permit. And he [wanted] gun owners to be licensed, tested and subjected to mandatory safety training.”

Again, this was the CEO of Colt saying these things–not a Democrat politician, not President Bill Clinton, not the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. And Stewart was not shy about defending his gun control push when gun owners cried foul and called for boycotts of Colt Manufacturing. But in defending himself, Stewart only made things worse for himself and the company.

For example, Stewart said:

I’m trying to address the question of how do you operate the gun safely so that you don’t injure somebody. It doesn’t make sense to stake out a position that is perceived by the public to be anti-safety….I’m not a gun nut, I’m not even a member of the NRA.

Read that again–Colt CEO says, “I’m not a gun nut, I’m not even a member of the NRA.”

That was 1998, Colt is in bankruptcy in 2015.

In addition to the explicit gun control push, Stewart turned Colt primarily toward law-enforcement and an expanded military market, and coupled that with a focus on “smart-gun technology,” which is a de facto means of gun control.

This chapter in Colt’s history goes a long way into explaining why Colt has not been embraced by Americans with the passion that Bushmaster, Daniel Defense, Glock, Ruger, Kimber, Sig Sauer, Springfield Armory, and so many others have during the 21st century.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at [email protected]

23 Comments
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Robert
Robert
6 years ago

A traitor never the less, financially hope they learned a valuable lesson, don’t slap the hand that feeds you, least you go hungry yourself! DPMS is another, I personally refuse to buy from, an le every other manufacturer of AR rifles has life time warranties, DPMS warranty says 2 years, if you shoot, wolf or tul-ammo in it which has a coating which all steel cases have, it voids their warranty! I called several other manufacturers all said it doesn’t matter what you shoot, still life time warranty, Windham, Colt, Sig, etc… . I figure if all parts are exchangeable… Read more »

Eric
Eric
6 years ago

CT taxes , union labor , over pricing market , Many companies have moved to favorable tax states for good reason.

Eric X Equis
Eric X Equis
6 years ago

KARMA!

John Lofland
John Lofland
6 years ago

No problems with Colt going tits up. They were never civilian friendly. What I don’t get is why S&W is off the hook for supporting the Weapons Ban. This was done so at a time when they did not profit from AR’s and Glock had cut their semi
auto sales to hell. I say I hope S&W is next

Duane
Duane
6 years ago

When I was a FFL dealer back in the early 80s per “company policy” the 20 round factory mags for the Ruger Mini 14 were “OK for civilian consumption. BUT with NFA credentials as a qualifier to buy, I could ONLY sell the genuine factory 30 round Ruger magazines (remember the red printing on the white boxes?) with the Ruger AC 556 to law enforcement explicitly -no exceptions. And all this KRAP straight from dear Bill Ruger himself. At least he’s long gone now and Gooood Riddddance, Thank You! My SR22 with Silencerco Sparrow can is a grandkids dream. Luv… Read more »

Grey Beard
Grey Beard
6 years ago

The primary reason behind the vast majority of business failures is “BAD” management! Colt has for Years been wallowing in exactly that! Labor problems? Move Lock, Stock, and Barrel to a better location. Or, after the first bankruptcy sever ALL ties with the unions and offer to hire all new employees. Long time union members can look for work at one of the other manufacturers in CT. Oh, none available, well, I guess they can just go on welfare, or choose to drop the union and go with Colt. But with the state of management at Colt over the years,… Read more »

175jfs
175jfs
6 years ago

Colt has been on a deathwatch since the late 80’s. Labor problems, management problems, refusing to modernize for the 21st century. Corporates political stance was just another nail in the coffin. Out of spite, S&W should by the commercial division and the rest can be divided between FN & Remington. Maybe then S&W can bring back the Python and the Detective Special.

Greg Tag
Greg Tag
6 years ago

Folks Colt has been bankrupt before. The big issue for 30 or more years has been the on -again, off- again UAW strike against Colt, the hyper inflated wages paid Colt employees and the bean counter management brought in to run Colt who had no understanding of guns or the gun culture; to these people a gun was simply another widget. Colt left the personal protection market in the mid 90’s- the finest combat revolvers in the world- the Detective Specual and its stablemate and the Python were expensive to produce and labor intensive with sakes to an iffy market… Read more »

Dr Dave
Dr Dave
6 years ago
Reply to  Greg Tag

Excellent excellent commentary. Its fine to stand up and bitch about rules regulations management politics but the long and the short was that the Union has once again broken the back of a US corporation and they are proud of it. To them they would prefer to have no jobs then to work for the capitalist dogs who make more then them when in reality in a country that is seeing employment rates skyrocketing into the 22% + range and more jobs being sent across the pond at some point it would seem better to have some income then none… Read more »

kcshooter
kcshooter
6 years ago

The guy was a CEO for less than two years nearly two decades ago. You’ve got to be a special kind of stupid to think this is in any way the cause of bankruptcy. Besides, Bill Ruger was WAAAAY more into gun control than any other firearm company big-wig, and they are stronger than ever.

C J
C J
6 years ago
Reply to  kcshooter

Bill Ruger never abandoned the firearms consumer. Colt did. How many revolvers does Colt make? How many concealed carry firearms does Colt make? How many different variations of semi auto pistols does Colt make that aren’t 1911s? No new products that aren’t based on 100 year old, or older, designs. Their only R&D was for a pistol that only had the possibility of limited sales to LEOs. Colt has been out of business for 25 years, just making payroll on their residuals, and limping along with parts sales to the government. Unless the company abandons it’s current business model and… Read more »

Dr Dave
Dr Dave
6 years ago
Reply to  C J

That logic is silly. How many cars does Boeing make how many planes does Chrysler make or GM? They are all in transportation. Colt may not make variations in products but they sure make a fine product in the 1911 as well as others. Why must a company expand its product line to be successful. The 3rd highest reason for bankruptcy in the USA is over expansion. Failing to focus on what you do and expanding in either market size or in this case market description as you are requesting. Looking at the spectrum they go from the 22LR right… Read more »

Sandy
Sandy
6 years ago

Hey, wait a minute. Didn’t they just buyout LWRC? What’s going to happen with that now? —- They HAD to be close to bankruptcy even while making that deal go. Will some parties start mentioning the “F” word … FRAUD???

This is not sounding good to me. How about to you?

TANSTAAFL2
TANSTAAFL2
6 years ago

I imagine the corporate raiders milking the company while loading it down with debt may have had something to do with the bankruptcy

CDR-C
CDR-C
6 years ago

“Colt manufacturing led charge for gun control in the 1990s and the company is in bankruptcy in 2015”

His latest comments attributed were in 1998. That was seventeen (17) years ago. Those dots are WAYYYY to far apart to connect.

Big Bill
Big Bill
6 years ago
Reply to  CDR-C

I’m not so sure.
I won’t buy a Colt product, and I don’t think it’s too far out there to say I’m far from alone in this.
I’m sure a lot of younger (than me, anyway) people don’t understand why, but I have heard gun shop people steer prospective buyers away from Colt products. It’s really not too difficult, either, as there are a LOT of competing products that are the equal to, or better than, Colt’s offerings.

Dr Dave
Dr Dave
6 years ago
Reply to  Big Bill

What a same a CEO was brought in to work for a company 17 yes SEVENTEEN years ago and was there for 2 years of it’s 100+ year existence and people to this day refuse to buy their products! So does that same logic go for every company organization entity? They make a mistake correct it in fairly short order and are condemned forever with no value to the 100 other years they did fine, supported the industry, as well as the consumer and now must simply die. Since we about every 8 years or so seem to hire the… Read more »

Janek
Janek
6 years ago

An alternative explanation? Mister Stewart, if you don’t spew the gun control mantra, some other manufacturer will have the government contract for making all those M16’s. LOL

@HellerWithAGunn
@HellerWithAGunn
6 years ago

I wouldn’t be so quick to sing the praises of Ruger. Bill Ruger was one of the driving forces behind magazine limits around the same period. It took the company years to rehabilitate its reputation after his death.

TEX
TEX
6 years ago

You’re right ! I checked that out about Bill Ruger on magazine capacity he wrote every member of Congress in ’89 !

SWIFT
SWIFT
6 years ago

COLT use to make some great firearms. Then, the quality went south and they lived on a dead reputation.

charlotte49er
charlotte49er
6 years ago
Reply to  SWIFT

I was going to say the very same thing. Colt USED to make some very fine guns. (Has anyone tried to buy a Python lately? The prices are through the roof! IMO Ruger, Kimber, Taurus and a handful of others have surpassed Colt.

TEX
TEX
6 years ago

Ronald L Stewart was a complete moron. How could that loser had been CEO of Colt ? No wonder Colt is bankrupt. Colt sure does make great firearms though.