Re: Ruger Rumor
Bill Ruger as stated was getting old and confused, note the following:
In a letter to members of the House and Senate on 30 March 1989, Ruger stated in what has come to be known as "The Ruger Letter":
"The best way to address the firepower concern is therefore not to try to outlaw or license many millions of older and perfectly legitimate firearms (which would be a licensing effort of staggering proportions) but to prohibit the possession of high capacity magazines. By a simple, complete, and unequivocal ban on large capacity magazines, all the difficulty of defining "assault rifles" and "semi-automatic rifles" is eliminated. The large capacity magazine itself, separate or attached to the firearm, becomes the prohibited item. A single amendment to Federal firearms laws could prohibit their possession or sale and would effectively implement these objectives."
In addition to the furor amongst hunters, sportsmen and shooters caused by "The Ruger Letter", Ruger made additional comments during an interview with NBC's Tom Brokaw that angered 2nd Amendment proponents even further, saying that "no honest man needs more than 10 rounds in any gun…" and "I never meant for simple civilians to have my 20 and 30 round magazines…"
This position, coming from an important firearms manufacturer such as Ruger, caused outrage in the shooting sports community and led to a widespread boycott of Ruger products that is still practiced by some firearms purchasers to this day, who choose to buy products from manufacturers who they feel hold a greater respect for their customers (however, see further below).
"The Ruger Letter" is widely accepted as being the genesis for those parts of legislation that were drafted 5 years later in the now defunct Assault Weapons Ban which prohibited the manufacture of any magazines holding over 10 rounds of ammunition for civilian sale, except to the motion-picture industry, which Ruger continued to pursue. Critics consider it ironic that the company would supply shows such as The A-Team with the AC-556, a selective fire variant of the Mini-14, then complain about the resulting public image of the semi-automatic Mini-14.
While it is unknown what the true motives behind "The Ruger Letter" really were, it is widely speculated that his position on magazine capacity was more a matter of smart business than one of individual philosophy. Given the legislative climate regarding firearms during that time (the late 1980s/early 1990s), the prospect of an outright ban that may have impacted one of Ruger's most popular and profitable models (the Mini-14) was a very real possibility.
By taking preemptive measures to shift the focus from the "guns" to the "magazine capacity", this would allow Sturm, Ruger to continue production with their Mini-14 line of firearms for civilian sale. Any legislation regarding magazines would have had zero impact on their bottom line, given that Ruger maintained a company policy refusing to sell Mini-14 magazines over 5 rounds (which would not have been affected), even prior to the 1994 legislation.
However, the tactic was a complete failure. Not only was the Mini-14 included in the various lists of banned guns, but the customer base of "simple civilians" simply found other vendors, while the government and law enforcement markets largely continued to pass by Ruger products in favor of arms from Colt, Springfield Armory, Heckler and Koch, FN and others.
Since the death of Bill Ruger and the 2006 retirement of his son, Bill Ruger, Jr., the company has offered and advertised its 20-round and (more recently, as of April 2009) its 30-round Mini-14 magazines for sale to the general public on its website. In light of the (then) upcoming US Presidential Election of 2008, Sturm, Ruger & Co. even offered "Inaugural Special" pricing for their 20-round Mini-14 magazines through 31 January 2009. With acts such as these, the boycott appears to have been dying down. Additionally, Ruger announced its entry into the AR-15 market on 15 May 2009 by announcing the SR-556. This is a gas-piston AR and comes with 3 30-r