The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a show hearing where firearm industry leaders testified on their efforts to keep lawfully-manufactured products out of the hands of criminals. Democrats on the committee broad-stroked the blame from criminals to firearm manufacturers to push for more gun control.
On several occasions, Democrat members ignored facts and blurred details to scapegoat legal firearm manufacturers and buyers. When corrected by Daniel Defense CEO Marty Daniel about the difference between fully-automatic, strictly-regulated military firearm and the commonly-owned civilian semiautomatic modern sporting rifle (MSR), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) responded, “Okay, we’re splitting hairs here.”
That’s a fairly significant “hair” and encapsulated a theme that Democratic committee members can’t be bothered with facts.
Setting the Table
Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is locked in a primary with Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). The incumbents are trying to out-gun-control each other and Rep. Nadler passed a so-called “Assault Weapons Ban” out of his committee. The bill could be considered for a vote at any time.
Rep. Maloney wasn’t to be outdone. She called firearm CEOs to Capitol Hill to answer misguided questions on advertising and marketing practices.
“The gun industry is profiting off the blood of innocent Americans,” Rep. Maloney said. Daniel pushed back on the chairwoman’s comments. “Murderers are responsible” for these unthinkable crimes, not lawfully-sold firearms.
Second Amendment advocate Antonia Okafor testified that the modern sporting rifle (MSR) has become the “great equalizer” among women – especially African American women – who are concerned with their ability to protect themselves and their families.
“History has shown countless times that any people group without the means of keeping and bearing arms has remained the oppressed people group.”
Powerful testimony from @antonia_okafor during this morning’s hearing on firearms.
— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) July 27, 2022
“Having access to an AR-15 provides a sense of safety for women without physical discomfort other guns might cause,” Okafor explained. “The Number One reason that women buy firearms is for self-defense and the AR-15 allows women to have a larger firearm without having to absorb the recoil as much as one does with a smaller handheld firearm.”
From 1990-2020, industry data shows more than 24.4 million MSRs are in circulation today.
Attacks on Rights and Laws
Committee Democrats went after First Amendment free speech rights, painting firearm manufacturer advertisements as supportive of hate groups and “domestic terrorists.”
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) alleged gun manufacturers sell “weapons of war to anyone who wants them,” and use “marketing tactics that spread white supremacy and embolden far-right extremist groups.” The CEOs flatly rejected the absurdity and denied the accusations. Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) called the accusations “absurd.”
The firearm leaders participating in the hearing, Daniel and Sturm, Ruger & Co., CEO Chris Killoy, defended their industry despite unfounded attacks by Democratic lawmakers against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). That’s the law that prevents frivolous lawsuits against firearm industry companies for the criminal actions committed by remote third parties.
“As long as gun manufactures have immunity to sell their weapons of war using harmful marketing tactics, Black and Brown communities will continue to be targeted,” Rep. Pressley added.
The firearm industry doesn’t have “immunity,” nor are they “the only outfit in the country that is immune,” as President Joe Biden has often repeated. Thats patently false. Just like it’s false to assert an MSR is the same as a fully-automatic, highly-restricted military rifle. That was ignored, as usual, by gun control Democrats. Congresswoman Maloney and those on her committee don’t care about facts.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.