Today the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held the first in a series of hearings designed to support efforts to enact new gun control laws. Invited to testify at the hearing were the CEOs of a number of prominent firearms manufacturing companies, including Daniel Defense, Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer and others. If you find yourself wondering what these CEOs have to do with this ongoing process, you’re not alone, but most of them agreed to show up. Ahead of the hearing, the committee released a lengthy statement penned by Democratic Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney. In it, she indicated that they would be releasing their findings from an “investigation” into the sales reports of the various companies as if it was really all that difficult to find their sales records. Maloney announced what she clearly seemed to think was a shocking statistic. The combined companies racked up more than one billion dollars in sales of certain styles of semiautomatic long rifles that Democrats refer to as “assault weapons.” Oh, and they advertise their products. You’re shocked, I know. Here are a couple of excerpts from Maloney’s letter.
“How much are the lives of America’s children, teachers, parents, and families worth to gun manufacturers? My Committee’s investigation has revealed that the country’s major gun manufacturers have collected more than $1 billion in revenue from selling military-style assault weapons to civilians. These companies are selling the weapon of choice for mass murderers who terrorize young children at school, hunt down worshippers at churches and synagogues, and slaughter families on the Fourth of July. In short, the gun industry is profiting off the blood of innocent Americans.
“My Committee has found that the business practices of these gun manufacturers are deeply disturbing, exploitative, and reckless. These companies use aggressive marketing tactics to target young people—especially young men—and some even evoke symbols of white supremacy. Yet we found that none of these companies bothers to keep track of the death and destruction caused by their products.
Maloney is obviously just trying to gin up anger against the firearms industry in hopes of forcing a vote on more gun control legislation. But let’s take a moment and look at the three major complaints she raises in the letter. One can only hope that she doesn’t come across this article and read it because I would hate to see her become even more traumatized than she clearly already is.
First, she notes that the various firearms companies have “collected” more than one billion dollars selling these rifles. (I love the use of the word “collected” to create some sort of sinister connotation.) To her credit, Maloney is absolutely correct. These companies do charge money for their products. The reason they “collect” so much for these various “Bushmaster” style rifles is that they are some of the most popular models in the country. But while the mass shootings draw a lot of media attention, it’s also worthwhile to point out to the congresswoman that the FBI has told us year after year after year that long rifles of any type are the least common type of firearms used in the commission of crimes, including murder. More people are killed on average every year by murderers using blunt objects, knives, or even their bare hands. Moving on.
She complains about the advertising themes that the firearms manufacturers employ when trying to boost sales. Again, she is correct. These companies produce advertisements to attract customers. In not one single ad we’ve ever seen have any of them suggested that these products should be used to kill human beings, though it’s clear that such a thing might happen if you are forced to defend yourself and/or your family from a home intruder. They are most commonly used for hunting or target shooting. This is another nonsensical “accusation.”
Her final complaint is that none of the gun companies are “bothering” to keep track of the number of people killed by people using these products. Really? How shocking. You’re telling us that civilian manufacturers of firearms are not in the business of collecting crime data from law enforcement agencies? Of course, if they did “bother” to do that, assuming they could legally extract the information from law enforcement agencies all around the country, they would discover that the number is minuscule compared to deaths caused by handguns, knives, and baseball bats, as I mentioned above. Perhaps they should start including that data in their advertising.
It’s kind of admirable that these CEOs were willing to travel to Washington and sit through all of this nonsense with a straight face. The Democrats in Congress are once again putting on yet another circus to try to distract the country from the disastrous state of the country at the moment and the failures of their own policies. But it’s a midterm election year so we probably should have expected this.