German gun manufacturer Heckler & Koch vowed to stop selling weapons to “crisis regions of this world," ending the sale of their weapons in several countries in Africa and the Middle East -- including Israel.
The gun manufacturer, which builds some of the most renowned firearms on the planet, quietly made the move as a way to rehab the brand and steer it in a more “ethical direction,” The Guardian reported.
The company’s recognizable firearms have been featured in films including “Die Hard” and Navy SEAL members allegedly used one of the weapons to kill terrorist Usama bin Laden, The Washington Post reported.
“We are the Porsche of weapons on that market,” Andreas Heeschen, Heckler & Koch's owner said.
However, the firearms have come under scrutiny for also being named “Germany’s deadliest company” by gun activists, The Guardian reported. The company’s weapons have reportedly been used in the killing of more than 2 million people since the guns began being constructed in 1949.
In August during the company’s annual meeting, Heckler & Koch confirmed it had “withdrawn from the crisis regions of this world.” The company never formally announced the decision but included the plan in its financial design released in March.
The report said: ““We are not seeking to take part in new tenders in non-green countries,” Deutsche Welle International reported.
Under that strategy, the gun manufacturer pledges to compromise with NATO countries, “NATO-equivalent” countries - New Zealand, Japan, Australia and New Zealand – and “countries with passing marks on Transparency International’s corruption index and the Economist Intelligence Unit’s democracy test,” The Washington Post reported.
Heckler & Koch promised to stop business in every nation in Africa, Mexico, India, Turkey, Egypt, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Israel.
In 2014, the company controlled 11 percent of the Earth’s gun market. However, sales decreased following Germany’s regulations on selling weapons to Middle Eastern countries. The gun manufacturer’s yearly earning’s slipped from more than $72 million in 2014 to $29 million in 2015.
In 2015, the gun manufacturer was scrutinized after employees were charged in 2015 for illegally selling firearms to Mexico that disobeyed the export embargo.
“This is a company that had one of the most terrible reputations – in all the podium discussions I’ve done in the last few years, the other arms companies used to say, ‘We’re not like Heckler & Koch, we’re morally better,'" Jurgen Grasslin, a German anti-arms-trade advocate, told The Guardian. "Now Heckler & Koch has come along and said, ‘We’re not delivering to the Middle East anymore’. It’ll be interesting to see what happens now."