Congress Puts Five Gun Companies Under Investigation After Texas Shooting

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The House Oversight Committee is investigating five firearms manufacturers in the wake of the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were killed. The scrutinized companies include Bushmaster Firearms Industries, Inc.; Daniel Defense, LLC; Sig Sauer, Inc.; Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc.; and Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.

Committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) has requested information from each of these companies regarding the production, marketing, and sales process for weapons they handle. “Our country faces an epidemic of gun violence, which is now the leading cause of death for children in the United States… 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. 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,” Maloney said.

Daniel Defense manufactured an AR-15-style gun that the Uvalde attacker used. Bushmaster, meanwhile, was the company behind a weapon used by the white supremacist shooter who recently attacked a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, where that attacker killed 10 people. The oversight panel is holding a hearing on gun violence on June 8, and the committee is seeking information from these companies before that point. As summarized by a press release from the oversight committee, investigators “requested that the companies provide information regarding the manufacturing, sales, and marketing of semiautomatic rifles based on the AR platform and similar variants by June 2, 2022, and related documents by June 6, 2022.”

“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… 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,” Maloney added. “The Committee is investigating the sale and marketing of your company’s AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles and similar firearms to inform legislative efforts to achieve common-sense gun safety reform to save Americans’ lives.” Read more here.

Public outrage is growing over the role of the multi-faceted gun lobby in the United States in fostering circumstances widely seen as allowing for incidents like the Uvalde shooting to take place. The attacker in that incident legally procured a rifle he took and used inside the school — meaning that there’s clearly an opportunity here for policy change. At the recent kick-off of the Houston convention of the NRA, a huge protest crowd — reported as in the thousands — gathered outside, demanding action to stop gun violence. Beto O’Rourke, a former Democratic Congressman from Texas, recently confronted Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott and other GOP officials in the middle of a joint press conference connected to the Uvalde shooting. And at a Texas restaurant, a Houston-area activist confronted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) after his speech at the NRA convention this week.

Featured image: Lorie Shaull, available under a Creative Commons license