Aug 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Gun makers appeal to masculinity, supremacist groups to sell guns: Report

stuffed animals, flowers, and other keepsakes are left next to crosses bearing the names of the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School
A memorial to the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The nation's gun manufacturers use "disturbing sales tactics" to sell assault weapons to civilians while failing to track deaths or injuries that result from the use of their products, according to a report issued in late July by the House Oversight Committee.

Driving the news: In late May, the committee opened an investigation into five gun manufacturers in the wake of deadly mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.

The big picture: Gun manufacturers have reaped more than $1 billion from sales of AR-15-style firearms in the last decade, the report stated.

  • According to company materials, the gun manufacturers target young men by marketing guns in a way that appeals to consumers' masculinity. One ad suggested that buying AR-15 would ensure "your status at the top of the testosterone food chain."
  • "The firearm industry has been marketing directly and indirectly to white supremacist and extremist organizations for years, playing on fears of government repression against gun owners and fomenting racial tensions," the report stated, noting gun makers used symbols and names in their marketing materials that nodded to white supremacist organizations.
  • According to the report, the five gun makers being investigated "do not have any systems in place to monitor and analyze" the deaths, injuries and crimes associated with their products.

What they're saying: "How much are the lives of America’s children, teachers, parents, and families worth to gun manufacturers?" committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a press release.

  • "These companies are selling the weapon of choice for mass murderers who terrorize young children at school, hunt down worshippers at churches and synagogues, and slaughter families on the Fourth of July. In short, the gun industry is profiting off the blood of innocent Americans," Maloney added.
  • “My Committee has found that the business practices of these gun manufacturers are deeply disturbing, exploitative, and reckless."

The big picture: In opening its investigation, the committee requested information regarding the manufacturing, sale and marketing of semi-automatic rifles from the five gun makers: Daniel Defense, Bushmaster, Sig Sauer, Smith &Wesson Brands and Sturm, Ruger & Company.

  • In late July it called on the CEOs of Smith &Wesson Brands, Daniel Defense and Sturm, Ruger & Company to testify before the committee.
  • The committee subpoenaed Smith & Wesson earlier this month after it said the company had failed to meet the panel's request for information and testimony.
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