Ahead of Hearing, Committee Reveals Major Gun Companies Collected More than $1 Billion in Revenue from Military-Style Assault Weapons

Jul 27, 2022
Press Release
New Documents Also Reveal Gun Companies’ Dangerous Marketing Tactics to Sell AR-15s and Failure to Monitor Use of Their Guns to Kill Americans

Washington, D.C. (July 27, 2022)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, released new findings from the Committee’s investigation into five major gun manufacturers’ sales and marketing of AR-15-style assault rifles, the weapons of choice for murderers responsible for America’s deadly mass shootings.  The findings come ahead of the Committee’s hearing at 10:00 a.m. ET on the role of the firearms industry in America’s gun violence epidemic.

 

Chairwoman Maloney issued the following statement after releasing the new findings:

 

“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.

 

“Today, my Committee will hear testimony from CEOs of two gun manufacturers, and I look forward to these executives answering for their actions.  I hope my Committee’s findings and hearing serve as a call to action ahead of this week’s historic House vote to ban assault weapons and end the outrageous liability shield enjoyed by gun manufacturers.  I will continue to push for accountability for the out-of-control gun industry so we can end America’s gun violence epidemic.”

 

On May 26, 2022, following the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, the Committee sent letters to Daniel Defense, LLC, Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc., Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc., Sig Sauer, Inc., and Bushmaster Firearms Industries, Inc. seeking information on their sale and marketing of AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles and similar firearms. 

 

The Committee has learned that the five gun companies collected more than $1 billion over the last decade from sale of military-style assault weapons to civilians, as gun violence and mass shootings surged across the United States.  These companies use disturbing sales tactics—including marketing deadly weapons as a way for young men to prove their masculinity and selling guns to mass shooters on credit—while failing to take basic steps to monitor the violence their products unleashed.   

 

Below are key findings from the Committee’s investigation:

 

  • Gun manufacturers collected more than $1 billion from the sale of AR-15-style semiautomatic weapons in the last decade, and sales are increasing as gun deaths and mass shootings rise. 

 

  • Daniel Defense’s revenue from AR-15-style rifles tripled from $40 million in 2019 to over $120 million in 2021.

 

  • Ruger’s gross earnings from AR-15-style rifles also nearly tripled during the same time-span, increasing from $39 million to over $103 million.

 

  • Smith & Wesson’s revenue from all long guns, which include AR-15-style rifles, more than doubled between 2019 and 2021, from $108 million to $253 million.

 

  • Combined, these five manufacturers put hundreds of thousands of military-grade AR-15-style rifles into communities every year.

 

  • Gun manufacturers employ a variety of financing tactics and manipulative marketing campaigns to sell AR-15-style rifles to civilians, including young people. 

 

  • Sales and marketing materials obtained by the Committee show how sellers tout assault rifles’ military pedigree, make sly references to violent white supremacists like the Boogaloo Boys, and prey on young men’s sense of masculinity by claiming their weapons will put them “at the top of the testosterone food chain.” 

 

  • Smith & Wesson markets its assault rifle with advertisements that mimic first-person shooter video games popular with children.

 

  • Daniel Defense sells the assault weapon used in the Uvalde shooting on credit, bragging that financing is approved “in seconds.”

 

  • Gun companies fail to track or monitor deaths, injuries, or crimes that occur using their products, and fail to track when their products have been illegally modified. 

 

  • All five companies acknowledged that they have no systems or process in place to gather safety data related to their products, and they were unable to produce any internal analyses of the dangers caused by selling their military-style weapons to civilians. 

 

  • Sig Sauer asserted that it does “not have the means” to track deaths caused by its products, while Ruger said it only learns of these incidents through its “customer service department,” the media, or “occasionally” from lawsuits.

 

  • Bushmaster claimed that, because the brand has been newly acquired by another company, it was “aware of no such deaths or injuries” caused by its products, even though the racist shooter in Buffalo killed 10 people with a Bushmaster-branded assault weapon in May 2022.

 

Today, the Committee will hear testimony from Christopher Killoy, President and CEO of Ruger, and Marty Daniel, CEO of Daniel Defense.

 

Click here to watch the Committee’s hearing at 10:00 a.m. ET.

 

Click here to read the Committee’s memorandum.

 

Issues: 
117th Congress