Century axes staff over permit block

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.

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