Gun manufacturers brought in more than $1 billion in revenue over the last decade by selling so-called assault-style weapons. The revelation came during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the manufacturers’ marketing practices and profits where Democrats tried to make the case that the gun industry was using what they call deceptive marketing practices and “profiting off the blood of innocent Americans.”
“Gun manufacturers use dangerous marketing tactics to sell assault weapons to the public. That includes marketing to children, preying on young men’s insecurities and even appealing to violent white supremacists,” Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., said.
“Prior to 2008, guns like the AR-15 were a pariah. But they represented a new and untapped market but the NRA and NSSF needed new political symbols and profit. And so companies like Smith and Wesson decided to get in the AR-15 market,” senior adviser to Giffords Law Center Ryan Busse said.
The CEOs of some of the biggest gun makers asserted that their weapons are not at fault.
“I believe our nation’s response needs to focus not on the type of gun, but on the type of persons who are likely to commit mass shootings. In my judgment the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security have shown how we can best spend resources,” founder and CEO of Daniel Defense Marty Daniel said.
Daniel said there are 24 million assault-style weapons out in public, and they are used lawfully and for self defense. He testified that in 2019, those types of weapons were used in less than 4% of the homicides that involved firearms.
“A firearm, any firearm, can be used for good or for evil, the difference is in the intent of the individual using it,” President and CEO of Ruger Firearms Christopher Killoy said.
Antonia Okafor, director of Women’s Outreach at Gun Owners of America, explained how AR-15s enable people who have a physical disadvantage to their attacker to gain the upper hand. She said the weapons are also easier on women, because they do not have to absorb as much of the recoil as they would with a small firearm.
Advocates for stricter regulations claimed manufacturers and the gun lobby are putting profit over people and countered the “good guy with a gun” theory.
“Framing guns around good and bad guys isn’t neutral. Because of racial inequities in our society, good guy with a gun is code for white, resulting in disparate treatment for black gun owners,” Brady: United Against Gun Violence Senior Counsel Kelly Sampson said.