Gun manufacturer CEOs testifying at hearing examining their roles in mass shootings
The heads of Sturm, Ruger & Company and Daniel Defense will face questions about their companies' weapons being used in shootings
CEOs from several major gun manufacturers will be appearing before the House Oversight Committee Wednesday morning, as lawmakers grill them over whether they bear any responsibility for mass shootings that have taken place in the U.S.
The heads of Sturm, Ruger & Company and Daniel Defense will be testifying at the hearing titled, "Examining the Practices and Profits of Gun Manufacturers." Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith was invited as well but is not expected to participate.
"With more than 300 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, and gun violence now the leading cause of death of children in America, it is clear that we are in a public health epidemic," Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a statement before the hearing. "Our hearing will examine the role of gun manufacturers in flooding our communities with weapons of war and fueling America’s gun violence crisis. It is long past time for the gun industry to be held accountable for the carnage they enable and profit from."
The hearing follows a letter Maloney sent to the CEOs earlier this month. In addition to their testimony, she requested that the CEOs' companies submit revenue and profit data from sales of weapons that are similar to AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, in addition to how much money they spend per year on lobbying and NRA contributions.
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In the hours before the hearing, Maloney released data that showed five leading gun manufacturers – Daniel Defense, Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger & Company, Sig Sauer, and Bushmaster – pulled in more than $1 billion in revenue over the past ten years from semi-automatic rifles similar to the AR-15.
Those types of weapons have been in the cross-hairs of Democrats due to their use in many of the mass shootings that have taken place in the U.S. Daniel Defense's DDM4 rifle was used in the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and Smith & Wesson's M&P rifle was used during the July 4 parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. Bushmaster weapons were used in the recent shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., and in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.
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Maloney has also accused the gun manufacturers of using "disturbing sales tactics" that make the weapons attractive to young people, without monitoring "the death and destruction caused by their products."
The committee acknowledged that in the course of investigating these issues, all five of the manufacturers said that they did not have systems that allowed them to collect safety data or the numbers of deaths caused by their products.
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After several recent mass shootings, Congress passed and President Biden signed a gun control bill that had support from members of both parties.
The bill will incentivize states to pass red flag laws and expand background checks for 18- to 21-year-olds, and also focuses on mental health. Opponents of the bill doubt whether they would have prevented any of the tragedies, and are concerned that they may infringe on Second Amendment rights.