U.S. House panel presses gun makers to testify before Congress
Tears roll down Stephanie Shepherd’s face outside Gov. Bill Lee’s office during a vigil for gun violence victims on June 1. (Photo: John Partipilo)
WASHINGTON — The chair of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Thursday said she has requested that CEOs of three gun manufacturing companies appear before Congress to testify at a hearing later this month on gun violence.
Chair Carolyn B. Maloney of New York said she has asked for appearances by Marty Daniel of Daniel Defense, LLC in Georgia, Mark P. Smith of Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. in Massachusetts, and Christopher Killoy of Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. in Connecticut.
Following the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, that left seven dead, Maloney said the committee is continuing to investigate how these companies market AR-15-style weapons to civilians.
Those are the firearms used in the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were murdered, and in Buffalo, New York, where a white supremacist targeted a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood and killed 10 Black people.
“I am deeply troubled that gun manufacturers continue to profit from the sale of weapons of war, including AR-15-style assault rifles that were used by a white supremacist to murder ten people in Buffalo, New York, and in the massacre of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas,” she wrote.
Maloney requested that all three CEOs respond by Friday if they will testify on the hearing set for July 20.
That hearing will “examine the role of the firearms industry in the gun violence epidemic, including with respect to the sale and marketing of assault weapons and the broad civil immunity that has been granted to manufacturers.”
“The information you provided has heightened the Committee’s concern that your company is continuing to profit from the sale and marketing of weapons of war to civilians despite the harm these weapons cause, is failing to track instances or patterns where your products are used in crimes, and is failing to take other reasonable precautions to limit injuries and deaths caused by your firearms,” Maloney wrote to the CEOs.
The hearing follows an early June hearing where several survivors of horrific mass shootings in New York and Texas testified before Congress about the toll gun violence has taken on their lives.
President Joe Biden in late June signed into law a comprehensive gun safety package passed by Congress, which among its provisions provides funds for states to enact red flag laws and requires those under 21 who want to purchase a firearm to undergo a background check that takes into account a review of juvenile and mental health records.
In October, Smith and Wesson officials announced they will move the company’s headquarters to Blount County.
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