Image source: Gritrsports
Amid the increasing number of shootings in the United States, it was found that gun-makers have raked in more than $1 billion selling AR-15-style weapons in the past decade.
During that period, gun-makers marketed the weapons to appeal to young men, luring them in with the chance to prove their masculinity.
Despite the alarming number of mass shootings, a House investigation on Wednesday found that gun-makers continued their marketing.
The same weapons urging men to prove their masculinity have been responsible for a number of massacres that shook the nation – including the recent events that left ten dead in Buffalo and the twenty-one dead in Uvalde, Texas.
What the Committee had to say
The Committee on Oversight and Reform stated the ads used either mimicked the first-person shooter video games or endorsed the weapons’ military pedigree.
Others claimed that the guns would put prospective buyers “at the top of the testosterone food chain.”
Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York described the sales tactics as “deeply disturbing, exploitative, and reckless.”
“In short, the gun industry is profiting off the blood of innocent Americans,” she added.
While mass shootings have become an epidemic to the country, gun-makers point out that AR-15-style rifles are responsible for a small portion of gun homicides.
Instead, they say that the blame rests on the shooters, not the weapons.
Marty Daniels is the CEO of Daniel Defense, the company that manufactured the weapon that massacred 19 children and 2 teachers in Texas.
“What we saw in Uvalde, Buffalo and Highland Park was pure evil,” said Daniels.
“The cruelty of the murders who committed these acts is unfathomable and deeply disturbs me, my family, my employees, and millions Americans across this country.”
“I believe that these murders are local problems that have to be solved locally,” he added in testimony before the committee.
Statistics & investigation
Statistics found that gun violence spiked in 2020, but also indicate that it is coming down this year in many cities.
The House panel’s investigation focused on major weapon makers and found that they made a combined revenue of $1 billion in the past ten years selling AR-15-style firearms.
The numbers were released for the committee hearing focused on the marketing and sales of the firearms that gained nationwide attention for their use in mass killings.
The companies, revenues, and additional statistics
The committee found that two companies tripled their revenue from the weapons in the past three years.
Daniel Defense raised its revenue from $40 million in 2019 to more than $120 million last year.
The company was responsible for the weapon used in the Uvalde shooting and is known for selling weapons on credit and advertising financing that can be approved “in seconds.”
Salvador Ramos, the Uvalde shooter, spent more than $5,000 on two AR-style rifles, ammunition, and other gear days before his horrific actions.
Sturm, Ruger & Co.’s gross revenue also tripled from $39 million to $103 million since 2019.
Smith and Wesson reported that revenues from all long guns doubled between 2019 and 2021.
Meanwhile, the committee pointed out that gun manufacturers don’t analyze safety data related to firearms.
The increased revenue comes from a record-setting overall gun sales increase that started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Republican Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia revealed that about 8.5 million people bought guns for the first time in 2020.
“American people have a right to own guns,” said Hice.
After learning about the firearm industry’s marketing practices and accountability, concerns arose on Thursday and the committee was prompted to produce more proposed legislation.
House lawmakers introduced a measure that directs the Federal Trade Commission to conduct an investigation on the industry’s advertising and marketing practices.
The proposals face similar obstacles when going through Congress as Republican oppositions will likely keep it from advancing in the senate.
Meanwhile, gun safety advocates are urging lawmakers to increase their efforts after gun-makers doubled down on their lack of accountability while testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
Opinions expressed by NY Weekly contributors are their own.