Gunmaker says assault weapon ban could put them out of business - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Gunmaker says assault weapon ban could put them out of business

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Connecticut gun manufacturers will be paying close attention to what's happening at the state Capitol in Hartford in the coming days, including Stag Arms, which is based in New Britain. 

Eyewitness News toured Stag Arms, which makes AR-15 that is the same gun used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where 20 children and six adults were killed.

One employee at Stag Arms said the AR-15 was designed in the 50s as a military rifle. It was eventually converted back to a civilian rifle.

Officials with Stag Arms explained the differences between AR-15s that can be sold in Connecticut and those that be can't be sold in the state.

"On the Connecticut legal version, you have a compensator fixed in place and can't remove it," said Mark Malkowski, who is the owner of Stag Arms. "We also don't have a bayonet mount."

Stag Arms only makes AR-15s and sells 6,000 a month around the world.

Malkowski said he is concerned about losing the ability to sell to residents in Connecticut as well as other states.

If Connecticut lawmakers pass an assault weapons ban, the AR-15 would not be completely illegal but it would eliminate certain features, such as the pistol grip.

If that happens, Stag Arms said they would not be able to make a version they could sell in Connecticut.

"It's something we need to talk to them about," said Minority Leader John McKinney. "We obviously are going to make changes this year that will affect our gun laws."

Lawmakers met behind closed doors Tuesday to try and hammer out an agreement on gun control.

After the tragedy at Sandy Hook, many lawmakers told Eyewitness News that they want a ban on assault weapons and to make large ammunition magazines illegal.

But gun supporters said they feel this will not stop what happened in Newtown and will only punish law-abiding gun owners.

"We want to protect those guns that are used by hunters," said state Senate President Donald Williams. "But, we want to draw the line at those weapons made for the battlefield."

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is hoping something will be voted on next week.

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