House committee calls on gun maker CEOs to testify

The House Oversight Committee is stepping up its probe into gunmakers and has called for the CEOs of three major gunmakers to appear before Congress later this month following a series of shootings. harrowing mass involving assault rifles that killed and injured dozens of Americans.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), chair of the committee, sent letters Wednesday to Marty Daniel, CEO of Daniel Defense, Mark Smith, chairman and CEO of Smith & Wesson Brands, and Christopher Killoy, chairman. and CEO of Sturm, Ruger & Co., requesting testimony in a second hearing organized by the committee examining the firearms industry.

Daniel Defense is the maker of the DDM4 rifle that the shooter used to kill 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and a shooter on Monday used a Smith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic rifle to kill in at least seven people and injuring dozens more during a July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois.

The July 20 hearing comes after Maloney launched an investigation into gun manufacturers in May. Maloney requested information from five manufacturers regarding the manufacture, sale and marketing of deadly weapons used in mass shootings that were legally purchased and used by the gunmen responsible for the carnage in Uvalde, Highland Park and Buffalo.

Maloney asked for each company’s gross revenues and profits from sales of semi-automatic rifles based on AR-15-style rifles, annual advertising and marketing expenditures for these rifles, annual federal and state lobbying expenditures. and funding provided to the National Rifle Association. Maloney cites new financial information that has been provided to the committee so far as the reason for the CEOs’ appearance.

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“The information you have provided has reinforced the Committee’s concern that your company continues to profit from the sale and marketing of weapons of war to civilians despite the damage caused by these weapons, fails to track cases or patterns where your products are used in crimes, and fails to take other reasonable precautions to limit injuries and deaths from your firearms,” Maloney wrote in a letter to Killoy, provided to The Washington Post.

She also wrote to Smith that her company produced “some of the information and documents responding to our investigation, but you declined to produce information specifically relating to semi-automatic rifles based on the AR platform, although admitting that you retain such records”.

Gunsmiths sold about 19.9 million firearms in 2021 and 22.8 million firearms in 2020, according to research group Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting. AR-15 style rifles became increasingly popular and became particularly lucrative for new companies like Daniel Defense.

The committee’s first hearing featured vivid testimony from survivors of mass shootings caused by assault rifles, including 11-year-old Miah Cerrillo, who spoke about her horrific experience in a classroom at Robb Elementary School and a pediatrician who treated the victims of the Uvalde. filming. Roy Guerrero told the hearing that bullets from the AR-15 type assault rifle “pulverized” and “decapitated” the bodies of children during the shooting.

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“Since the Oversight Committee launched our investigation into the firearms industry and its shameful role in marketing these dangerous weapons, we have discovered that Daniel Defence, Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger play a leading role plan in an industry that generates billions of dollars in profits selling these products, including the sale of the assault weapons used in Highland Park and Uvalde,” Maloney said in a statement. “I invite the CEOs of these manufacturers to explain to Congress and the American people why they continue to sell products to civilians for use on the battlefield.”

Last month, Congress passed the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which funds mental health services and school safety initiatives, expands criminal background checks for some gun buyers and provides federal grants. to states that enact red flag laws designed to keep guns away from those at risk of committing murder or attempting suicide. But Maloney has written to CEOs that the law does not go far enough.

“This law is an important step, but it does not ban assault weapons or implement other security solutions that the gun industry has aggressively lobbied to prevent,” he said. she writes.

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