May 27, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House Oversight panel investigates gun makers after Uvalde mass shooting

A police officer walking past a memorial outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 27.
A police officer walking past a memorial outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 27. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has opened an investigation into five gun manufacturers in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school earlier this week that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

Driving the news: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who chairs the committee, sent letters to the companies Thursday. She requested information regarding the manufacturing, sale and marketing of semi-automatic rifles that have been used in many of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.

Why it matters: The attack in Uvalde and another mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 dead on May 14 have intensified the debate on gun control legislation and renewed scrutiny on gun rights organizations and gun manufacturers.

  • The Uvalde shooter and the Buffalo gunman both used AR-15-style rifles produced by gun makers Daniel Defense and Bushmaster, respectively.

What they're saying: “Our country faces an epidemic of gun violence, which is now the leading cause of death for children in the United States,” Maloney said in a statement Friday.

  • “I am deeply concerned that gun manufacturers continue to profit from the sale of weapons of war, including the AR-15- style assault rifle that a white supremacist used to murder ten people last week in Buffalo, New York, and the AR-15-style assault rifle that was reportedly used this week in the massacre of at least 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas," she added.
  • "Despite decades of rising gun deaths and mass murders using assault weapons, your company has continued to market assault weapons to civilians, reaping a profit from the deaths of innocent Americans.”

The big picture: Maloney sent the letters to Daniel Defense, Bushmaster, Sig Sauer, Smith &Wesson Brands and Sturm, Ruger & Company on Thursday, requesting they respond to several questions by June 2.

  • "Despite strong public support for an assault-weapon ban in light of the horrific violence perpetrated with assault-style rifles, your company continues to manufacture large quantities of assault weapons and aggressively market them to the public," Maloney wrote in the letters.
  • "The Committee respects the rights of law-abiding Americans under the Second Amendment, but that does not excuse irresponsible corporate conduct that fuels deadly gun violence and endangers our children."

Zoom out: Gunmaker Remington Arms was sued by the parents of Sandy Hook victims in the aftermath of that school shooting, which killed 20 children and 6 adults.

By the numbers: U.S. gun manufacturing has tripled since 2000, with licensed gun manufacturers producing around 11.3 million firearms in 2020 alone, according to a new federal tally of gun commerce released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this month.

  • In 2000, roughly 1,400 firearms were produced for every 100,000 people in the U.S. That ballooned to more than 3,400 by 2020. The U.S. population increased 18% over those two decades.
  • Meanwhile, firearm-related injuries surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death for children and teenagers in 2020, according to an analysis of new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data published in April.

Go deeper: Remembering the victims of the Texas school shooting

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