Colt Manufacturing Co. has operated in Connecticut for 175 years, and remains one of the nation’s most venerable gun makers. However, a package of gun control bills may threaten the company’s future in the state, along with the livelihoods of its employees. According to the Associated Press, Colt president Dennis Veilleux made the decision last Thursday to shut down the Colt factory for a day so roughly 600 workers can make their voices heard at a public hearing in the state Capitol. There, they waved signs with messages such as “save our jobs.”
“These are the faces of the jobs at Colt,” Veilleux told the Associated Press. “Each of these people represents other people in the state. They represent the community and, in a lot of cases, they’re the breadwinners of their families. And more and more, manufacturing jobs are hard to come by.”
Along with Colt employees, representatives of the National Rifle Association and other gun owners groups also testified at the hearing. The Capitol building was crowded by both supporters and opponents of the gun control bills, which many feel could have a negative effect on state industry.
“You have an industry that’s going to be pretty much shut down, not only the gun manufacturers but all of our vendors and suppliers also. It would be quite a trickle down affect,” a protestor told WTNH.
While the bills would not necessarily prohibit companies like Colt from producing firearms, it would ban state residents from purchasing many of the products the company produces. Vielleux says he is aware of customer opinion towards states with heavy gun control laws, like New York, and believes that Connecticut could be worse off for it. As for Colt, he predicts that the company could take a hit to its coffers.
“If we ban this product in the state where we make it, our customers will take their business to another brand,” Vielleux stated. “When we start to get erosion of our customers, we lose our market share.”