Aug 2, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House panel subpoenas gun maker of rifle used in Highland Park shooting

Smith & Wesson's logo

Photo: Daniel Karmann/picture alliance via Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee on Tuesday subpoenaed the gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson as part of its investigation into gun makers, saying the company had failed to meet the panel's request for information and testimony about its assault weapons sales and business practices.

Driving the news: Smith & Wesson produced the weapon that authorities say was used by a shooter to kill seven people at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, last month.

  • Several days after the shooting, committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), called on the CEOs of three gun manufacturers — including Smith & Wesson Brands CEO Mark Smith — to testify before the committee by the end of the month.
  • The subpoena was issued in light of Smith's refusal to voluntarily testify before the committee as well as his company's decision not to provide the requested information, per a press release issued Tuesday.

The big picture: In a letter to Smith on Monday, Maloney recounted that Smith had initially agreed to testify before the committee before changing his mind. The committee, she noted, made "several good-faith attempts to secure your voluntary participation," to no avail.

  • Smith & Wesson Brands' response to the committee's request for information regarding its revenue, profit and sales figures for AR-15-style firearms has been "deficient," Maloney wrote.
  • The committee is seeking documents related to Smith & Wesson Brands' manufacture and sale of AR-15-style firearm, including its "internal communications around recent mass shootings," the press release noted.

Worth noting: Maloney noted in her letter that Smith & Wesson was the "second-most prolific manufacturer of rifles in the nation in 2020."

  • "In your company’s latest annual report, Smith & Wesson reported sales of $1.1 billion—the highest sales in the company’s nearly 170-year history."
  • "While your company refused to provide information specific to AR-15-style rifles, the limited information provided shows that your company brought in at least $125 million from AR-15 style rifles in 2021 alone," Maloney wrote.

What they're saying: "Even as your company is reaping growing revenue from assault rifles, your weapons are being used in deadly mass shootings with increasing frequency," Maloney wrote.

  • "Despite the enormous harm inflicted by your product, your company informed the Committee that it makes no effort to track or monitor injury, deaths, or crimes associated with the AR-15-style rifles you manufacture," she added.
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