US gun importer Century International Arms is blaming the White House for having to lay off 41 of its staff.
The Vermont-based firm said officials had blocked a permit needed to import a large number of historic firearms from South Korea.
A statement from the company said: “Century had been planning on a large importation of vintage WWII, M1 Garand Rifles from the South Korean government. All the normal approvals were in place to obtain the import permits for this sale from ATF.
“Century had invested considerable funds in seeking the approvals and financing for this transaction. It was expected that this nearly $30 million transaction would have provided a reliable revenue stream even during the general downturn in firearms demand in 2014.
“Additionally, the sales proceeds were going to be used by the South Korean government to purchase modern firearms for their defence forces.
“Unfortunately and unexpectedly, the White House intervened at the last minute and blocked this importation, despite our explaining that the denial would harm the company and pointing out that there is no rational, gun-control reason to block the importation of these historic, 70-year-old firearms.
“As a consequence of this denial, there has been a reduction in work and Century has had to make the difficult decision to lay off 41 Vermont employees. Nevertheless, the company has modernised production in several key operations areas, developed new products, and intensified sales efforts in various markets.“
The firm also confirmed that it expected the industry-wide downturn in demand to rebound in coming months, when it would be able to once again expand its workforce.