Assault rifle sales have grossed over $1 billion in 10 years in the United States.
U.S. gunmakers were accused in a tense congressional hearing on Wednesday of boosting sales of assault rifles with “dangerous” ads, which have grossed over $1 billion in 10 years.
AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles are extremely lethal weapons designed to kill enemy soldiers on the battlefield, said Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the House Oversight Committee.
Yet the industry has flooded our neighborhoods, our schools, and even our churches and synagogues with these deadly weapons, added the elected Democrat in reference to a series of killings with these rifles in recent years.
She got rich doing it, she continued, accusing gunmakers of boosting sales through dangerous marketing tactics targeting the insecurities of young men.
According to a report published by its commission, sellers have played on the military heritage of these weapons to attract buyers in search of masculinity, even if it means flirting with the codes of the white extreme right.
Thanks to the success of their campaigns, the five largest manufacturers have made more than a billion dollars over ten years from the sale of assault rifles, with a marked acceleration in recent years.
Ruger, the main manufacturer of AR-15s, thus earned in 2021 more than 100 million dollars by selling this type of rifle, twice as much as in 2020, and Daniel Defense tripled earnings from these weapons between 2019 and 2021, according to this report.
The leaders of these two companies, who testified by video link before the elected members of this commission, denounced the bloodshed committed with their weapons, but firmly rejected any responsibility.
Our country's response must focus not on the type of weapons, but on the type of people who are likely to carry out this carnage, said Marty Daniel, CEO of Daniel Defense, a model of which was used by the gunman who killed 21 in May at a Texas school.
I am deeply troubled by this horrific act committed by an evil person, he assured, while the parents of a girl killed in this shooting listened to him in silence from the Capitol.
But, he continued, I fear that the purpose of this commission is to blame more than 24 million sporting rifles already in circulation and which are implicated in only 4 % of homicides committed by firearm in 2019.
They're inanimate objects, Christopher Killoy, president of Ruger, America's largest assault rifle maker, has repeatedly said, touting his company's 2,000 well-paying jobs.
< p class="e-p">Asked about the choice of a colleague to sell a rifle named Big Igloo Aloha and decorated with flowers – the symbol of the Hawaiian shirts of the extremist group Boogaloo Boys -, he assured not to be aware of this and condemn racism.
Reflecting the dialogue of the deaf in the United States, the elected Republicans of the commission came to the aid of the industrialists in the name of the second amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms.
Gun manufacturers are not responsible for violent crimes, said Kentucky Republican elected James Comer. We will continue to protect the right of law-abiding gun owners to carry guns, including AR-15s.
This hearing is taking place as the House of Representatives hope to pass legislation banning assault rifles this summer. Barring a huge surprise, she will then fail in the Senate, where the support of 10 Republicans would be needed.
In 1994, Congress passed legislation banning assault rifles and certain high-capacity magazines for 10 years. It expired in 2004 and sales have since soared.
After the Uvalde school shooting, Democratic President Joe Biden renewed his calls for ban them or raise the age to buy them to 21.