Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Armalite tries to play both sides of the developing gun war

Written By: Bob - Feb• 21•13
Mark Westrom, President of Armalite

Mark Westrom, President of Armalite

It’s a simple matter of sanitation: you don’t sh*t where you eat.  That common-sense message was apparently lost on firearms manufacturer Armalite.

As regular readers know, a number of firearms companies, including (but not limited to) Barrett, Bravo Company USA, Doublestar, LaRue, Olympic Arms, and Templar Custom have told New York that they will not sell firearms or accessories to New York state law enforcement or other local or state agencies in response to New York’s unconstitutional NY SAFE Act, which destroyed the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers and violated the constitution of the State of New York in doing so.

More companies are joining the boycott every day, and many, if not all of these same companies have hung the explicit threat of applying these same standards and policies to other states that are threatening to undermine the constitutional rights of Americans. It’s a matter of principle.

An poster wrote an email to Armalite to see if the company was going to join some of the industry’s other heavy hitters in joining the boycott, and received this rude response from a customer service rep:

Dear concerned gun owner,

First of all I would like to say thank you for filling my email with all this spam email.

Second, I am not sure where you got this blanket email from to send out as spam, but please stop it.

Third, The manufacture is not the one you need to convince.

You need to convince the law enforcement agencies and the common people about their mistake in electing these officials and have them removed. Again NOT the manufacture.

AR Stands for ArmaLite…


Pat Raley

If Raley’s unprofessional and spiteful remarks weren’t enough, Armalite President Mark Westrom simply stirred the turd trying to smooth things over:

Thanks for posting this email. I just received a concerned telephone call about it, an email from the staffer who stimulated the mail.

I think a bit of clarification is in order.

The root of the matter is a HUGE series of inquiries by both email and telephone asking ArmaLite to cut off sales to New York and other states which deny its citizens the right to own our rifles, as several other firms have done. Some of the contacts have been duplicates of others and some were so redundant that they appeared to be spam. Many of them have been rude and I’m afraid one of my staffers thought that he was responding to a spammer and was more terse than he should have been. Once he realized what happened he came to me and apologized.

My purpose here is to pass on his apology from the corporate level and to answer the initial question: What is ArmaLite going to do?

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. 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 ArmaLite’s. Chicago, for instance, prohibits its citizens from owning ArmaLite’s 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.


Mark Westrom


ArmaLite Inc.

In other words, Armalite is trying to play both ends against the middle. They want to say they are on-board with the boycott (sort of) to placate gun owners, but they aren’t; they’re still going to continue selling to individual police officers… just not to the departments.

Armalite will sell to every individual officer in the department that wants an AR-15, but they won’t sell to the department’s official purchasing agent. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

Westrom’s policy is condescending to gun owners, and is more insulting than a simple and honest, “no, we won’t stop sales to states that have made gun-owners second-class citizens.”

There are plenty of solid AR-15 manufacturers in the United States that turn out higher-quality, more accurate AR-15s than Armalite, and several are on the list of companies standing up for your constitutional rights.

I suggest you consider spending your money with them instead of these companies lining their pocketbooks while ignoring first principles.

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  1. Russell says:

    I don’t know all of the provisions of the NY SAFE act. But if ArmaLite sells to individual police officers (as opposed to their departments), arent’ they both breaking the law?

    • Bob says:

      Without a doubt.

      • Jim says:

        The thought I would have here is that as soon as the officer in question asks to purchase an item (does not matter if that is a coffee maker or a firearm), if they are utilizing their credentials as a means of purchase, they are at that point a purchasing agent for that group. So this is also to state that a single officer can simply purchase a case of items for the department and still be perfectly fine under the company plan. I for one, have owned armalite rifles in the past (among others) and find them to be of decent quality, but I agree with the article that for the money, I can easily get a comparable quality item for less of my hard earned money from a company who values me as a customer. I for one, have purchased my last armalite firearm.

    • LivesInNY says:

      The NY SAFE act establishes law enforcement as a special class of privileged uber-citizens. Law enforcement officers, both present and retired, are exempt from the law that everyone else has to obey.

  2. Comrade X says:

    Amalite is dead to me!

    “It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death…..

    Thomas Paine

    Death before slavery!

  3. Honeybadger says:

    AR can now join ranks with Cheaper than Dirt as just another unprincipled capitalist. Their guns are like Ford Pinto’s anyway. They’ll get you there but that’s all.

  4. Comrade X says:

    Glenn Beck had a great show last night with four sheriffs who will stand up for the 2nd amendment against all odds;

    “These Four Sheriffs Are Taking a Bold Stand Against Gun Control: ‘An Unarmed Public Is a Tyrant’s Playground’

    Death before slavery!

    • Steve D. says:

      It may be too early to really tell, but there seems to be a pattern developing: sheriffs are on the side of the people, police departments are on the side of the tyrants. I doubt, if this is a real trend, that it is due solely to the fact that sheriffs are elected and police chiefs are appointed. It would seem that different sorts of people aspire to be sheriffs.

      • Sheriffs are elected. Police chiefs are political appointees/hires.
        That is why there are moves in some states to hobble sheriffs by removing many of their police powers.
        History shows that tyrants always employ thugs, barbarians, and psychopaths. They are more willing and easily persuaded to commit the tyrant’s atrocities than normal people.

  5. dekare says:

    I am not sure if I see the problem clearly. I as well as many officers I know, have “duplicate” weapons. We have our issued duty weapons and our own personal ones. Many cops have their own personal AR-15’s, paid for personnally, despite the fact they have a dept AR-15 sitting in their take home cars. I have not particularly asked why this is of anyone, but I think we all know why. My reason is simple, I do NOT ever want my weapons ownership dependent on my department. Swimming in my mind is the issue of what if they take my issued weapons away? Also, my dept knows when I shoot my duty weapons and can trace spent casings to them. Conversely, the dept knows nothing about my personal weapons, I have not told them what I own, nor do I have to. They can not trace spent casings to my personal weapons (easily). My duty weapons are for duty purposes only. I use them for dept training and on the job. When I shoot for personal purposes, I use my own stuff. I don’t even use dept ammo, even though I could.

    I and many officers differentiate between what is theirs and what is ours. If I am ever relieved of duty, quit, or am fired, I still have weapons to defend myself. Weapons my dept has no control over and more importantly, no knowledge of. So, if Armalite is selling to individual officers, I really see no issue. I will say that if an individual officer who is the known armorer of the agency all of a sudden puts in an order for dozens of rifles, especially after that same agency was turned down for an order, they may want to investigate that. But I have to say, I am a-ok with them selling to individual officers.

    • Jim says:

      Why are you different than any other civilian? Is not the position of police officer just a job? yes, a dangerous job, dealing with dangerous situations. But other jobs are dangerous too. Should they get special benefits? You get the tools to do your job issued to you. Anything you buy on your own should comply with the same restrictions I face. My ability to protect myself and family should not be any less than yours, when you are off duty. So yes, there is a problem.

    • Comrade X says:

      The moral of the story, dekare, really is whether you are a LEO, MIL or just a farmer working his fields; we are all in the same boat when it comes to our families & us standing up to tyranny!

      Death before slavery!

    • chowthen says:

      You’re saying you as a cop has more rights than me as a civilian even though I served my country when I was needed?

    • Steve says:

      You are a resident of that state, no different than the plumber down the street. You have a job, granted you come into contact with a greater number of bad people but it is still a job and that plumber down the street happens to be your employer as well. As a police officer you do not come in contact with any more violent individuals than the rest of the citizens of in your state. The reason you are coming in contact with these evil people is because they have already came in contact with a citizen and you are following up after the fact of a crime that has been committed. It could be said that it would be more important and beneficial to have the guns in the hands of the individuals than in the hands of law enforcement.

    • You don’t want to be without weapons. Understandable.
      We feel the same way.
      We have the G-d given right. The Constitution is supposed to guarantee that right by prohibiting the government from infringing it.
      Those that would make “laws” that violate that constitutional prohibition violate their oaths and are enemies of the people – tyrants. (And their “laws”, being repugnant to the Constitution are not laws at all, are void, have no force, etc. SCOTUS has ruled that.)
      YOU took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution against ALL enemies, foreign AND DOMESTIC.
      Are you going to uphold that oath? Or are you going to allow those enemies of the Constitution (tyrannical, oath-breaking politicians) to continue to violate our rights, threaten us with imprisonment and even violence, OR are YOU going to honor your oath and protect the Constitution and the people you promised to serve?
      If you are going to honor your oath, get to it.
      If you ar going to violate your oath, the People would be better off if you were disarmed.
      I am a veteran and a former LEO, who at 62 will still honor my oaths from the military and my days as a sworn officer of the law. My duty, per my oaths, is to the people and the Constitution, not to the edicts of some corrupt, tyrannical politicians who violate their oaths nearly as often as they breathe. The same applies to you.

  6. Mac Demere says:

    Would Westrom have sold to cops on the Birmingham, Alabama PD in 1964? How about those on the Neshoba County (Miss.) Sheriff’s Dept.?

    It’s not the same. But the slope feels similar.

    A certain Georgia state legislator and peanut farmer needed prodding to stop opposing the civil rights movement. Do a Google Books search of “The Race Beat” for “Jimmy Carter” and learn how Carter refused to march in home county with Dr. King.

  7. Comrade X says:

    “Bay Area Law Enforcement Encourages Fighting Back Against Active Shooters……..

    Death before slavery!

  8. Stuff It says:

    I was really wanting an armalite, but now in reading both the responces, I will NEVER buy any of their products. I suggest all Americans do the same, LE is a small part of all their business, until they come to an understanding of who they are endorsing, we should hit them where they are most concerned, their wallets!

  9. gary says:

    all armalite is doing is lining there pockets. they could care less about the 2nd amendment or the gun owners. their product is junk anyway.

  10. Rob G says:

    Armalite is a great company with great employees who make great products and is run by someone who has made a really bad decision.

    I truly hope they will see the error of their ways sooner than later, change their decision and repair their reputation.

    In the meantime, I’m very thankful there are many other vendors in the sea who are not coin-operated puppets and they are the ones who will get my coin from now on.

  11. dekare says:

    I may have missed something in the story or misunderstood something. I in NO WAY whatsoever hold myself out as better than any civilian. In fact, I have fewer rights than those that I have sworn to protect. You see, I can never speak my mind or express my freedom of speech in ways I feel strongly about as doing so may cost me my job. I am not allowed to joke about anything for the same reason. I am constantly walking on eggshells when it comes to speaking with anyone for fear my words will get twisted and I will find myself labeled and out of a job.

    That being said, my comment is based on my understanding of the story that Armalite is refusing to sell to an law enforcement agency that is going along with any plan for gun control. However, Armalite is continuing to sell to ALL civilians, and will even sell to officers who work for agencies that are embracing gun control laws, as long as the officer is buying as an individual and not for his department.

    If this story is different than what I have outlined, please tell me. I in no way expect to be treated any differently as an individual than any other individual. I was applauding Armalite for standing up to tyrannical law enforcement agencies while still recognizing that the lone officers may want to buy one of its products for personal reasons.

    Also, I stand with all civilians if overbearing gun controls come to reality. My main reason for wanting non-issued weapons is for the same reason every civilian does too. My issued weapons can be taken away from me and I can do nothing about it. However, if I have personal weapons, my employer can not trace them, does not need to know of them, and can NEVER take them from me.

    There may (MAY?!) come a time when I am ORDERED to disarm a civilian for no other reason than he has a gun. If so, they can damn well have my agency issued weapons, along with my badge, and I will join ranks with my fellow civilians to protect and uphold THE CONSTITUTION. I am want to be ready if that day should ever arise.

    So again, I meant nothing of the sort about being better than anyone or having more rights. If I truly misunderstood the story and the letter, I apologize.

    • Cajun man says:

      I admire your position. Please be careful on the streets. Don’t want to lose a true patriot.

    • I hadn’t seen this response from you when I wrote my comments to you above. From your response here, it sounds like you are part way to what I believe to be the right position.
      If enough stand up now and put the tyrants on notice that their unconstitutional laws will not be obeyed (BEFORE doors are broken in, flash-bangs are tossed, and shots are fired … BEFORE more Waco-like atrocities are perpetrated), if there is a concerted move to remove the tyrants from office and repeal their illegal edicts, a lot of people would be spared on BOTH sides.
      The problem you have, which you may or may not have realized yet, is that, to,the tyrants, you are completely expendable. The tyrants will never personally attempt to enforce their illegal edicts. They won’t take that risk personally. However, they don’t give a rat’s a$$ how many of you and your associates would die attempting to enforce their illegal orders.
      I would assert that you and your associates would better serve your self-interests (and those of your families, and the People) if you were to find the courage of your convictions to collectively inform your politically-appointed bosses and their bosses that these edicts are illegal, will not be enforced, must be repealed, and that IF THEY ARE NOT, THEY WILL BE REMOVED FROM POWER AND IMPRISONED FOR THEIR CRIMES AGAINST THE PEOPLE.
      There are more of you than there are of them. They have no power over you if you refuse to allow it to them.
      The patriots and lovers of freedom in this country will support you if you take the right course. If you take the wrong course, you will be opposed and suffer the consequences.
      This is NOT a threat to you by me. It is simply a observation of how I believe things will play out if tyranny continues to advance and you and your colleagues support it.

    • JimmyCZ6 says:

      “2. We do not halt sales to individual officers even in problematic states.”
      The problem lays in that simple statement. If the individual officer in question were buying his Armalite AR from a local gun shop they would have no idea he purchased it. However it appears Armalite will ship a rifle to an FFL for transfer to an individual officer, most likely after receiving a request on some form of PD letter head, in states which prevent the same for any other civilian.

      Also there is this
      “We consider sales to those state subdivisions which are not engaged or potentially engaged with disarming its citizens.”
      The entire point of not selling to states which criminalize your product is to force them to realize that they are not masters, but rather servants of the people. Do you really think it makes a difference to NY state if they order their rifles through DNR/Forestry service/Fish and wildlife? A sale to the state is still a sale to the state.

      Here in NJ police can order 20 and 30 round AR mags, 17 round Glock/M&P/etc mags from most vendors with a simple department letter head, whether for “personal use” or duty. Yet I am limited to 15rnd mags(and they’re pushing for 10) simply because I don’t have some shiny badge to put on. Ones occupation means nothing. Either we are all equal under the law, or the system is irreparably broken.

    • Mark E says:

      NO — what armalite is saying that they will obey the law and NOT sell to citizens in areas restricting Constitutional rights

      But that they WILL sell to individuals employed by the oppressing governments.

    • Gary says:

      You sound like a LEO and you sound like you are one that defends the constitution and the “we the people” yet you do not seem to see that you are one out of thousands of LEO that are that way, over the last few years I have asked many LEO’s on this matter, And have some experiences that have violated my RIGHTS violated by both local and federal agents. You would be surprised how many have admitted they would cite me or arrest me because they were TOLD to despite the fact that it was unconstitutional or that I had NOT violated any city,county,state,federal unconstitutional laws. They have a family to feed, and a mortgage and will do whatever it takes to keep their job. I do not trust LEO’s for anything other than to violate me and my family, to many LEO’s say one thing and do another .. PROVE IT TO ME I AM WRONG.

  12. thebronze says:

    I will NEVER buy Armalite.

  13. Bob M says:

    “I suggest you consider spending your money with them instead of these companies lining their pocketbooks while ignoring first principles.”

    I agree, and would be happy to spend my money with the “good guys”. Anybody able to point me to somewhere that has any in stock?

  14. LJenkMD says:

    There’s the right side and the wrong side to this battle and Armalite has chosen where they stand. Time to boycott their products. I will be spreading the word on the many gun blogs and forums I visit. Now is the time for action!

  15. DeSerion says:

    Westrom states, “…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.”

    However if the state, in this case NY, makes it illegal to sell and AR to an individual, how can you legally sell one to the individual officer unless you are doing so because of his/her position as an employee of the state…sounds like you are willing to break the law for one class of citizen and punish the other… the non-LEO citizens in the “problematic states”…no friend of the 2nd Amendment and the American people if this is your policy, no matter how noble you try to make is sound in your support to the individual officers.