On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Desert Tech, a gun manufacturer based in Utah, turned down a lucrative $15 million deal with Pakistan, citing the possibility that their weapons could be used against U.S. troops.
Sales manager Mike Davis said the company was on a short list for a contract with Pakistan, but backed down because of unrest in Pakistan and ethical concerns, the AP added.
The decision, he explained, was difficult because of the amount of money involved and, he said, the sales to Pakistan would have been legal.
"We don't know that those guns would've went somewhere bad, but with the unrest we just ended up not feeling right about it," he told KTVX-TV.
Davis explained the company was founded in 2007 on the principle of keeping America and its allies safe.
"As a business owner you always want to be successful, but I think ethically and morally you want to go about it the right way and stick behind your founding principles," he said.
Company president Nick Young said on Facebook that he started the company to protect troops, not endanger them.
"In consulting with other arms companies the general responses I got was, if they don't buy it from you, then they will get it somewhere else, or money is money," he wrote. "After much internal review we elected not to sell to Pakistan."
Col. Steven R. Watt of the Utah National Guard praised the company for the move.
"I've got to admire Desert Tech for potentially turning down what could have been a very lucrative contract in the interest of protecting American service members," he said.
The AP said the rifles "can change caliber within minutes and have the capacity to shoot as far as 3,000 yards."
The company, formerly known as Desert Tactical Arms, has had military contracts with other countries but declined to reveal specifics, the AP added.
Reaction to the move was overwhelmingly positive.
"Good call, and awesome publicity! You can make more than the 15M off a solid moral decision," one person said on Facebook.
"Thank you for looking out for & supporting our troops," another person added.
"Props to you guys for doing the right thing! If you guys ran the ATF, guns never would have made it over the border. Too bad the current administration lacks the character you guys have," said another visitor to the company's Facebook page.
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