U.S Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is in the fight for her political life. She’s trying one last Hail Mary to win over gun control-minded primary voters in her bout against Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).
Rep. Maloney has used the firearm industry as a political football in her primary campaign. Now, she’s introducing legislation to punish firearm manufacturers.
Rep. Maloney chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. She’s used her perch to launch attacks against the lawful firearm industry, including holding a show hearing and demanding industry executives answer her leading and inaccurate questions. She tried to paint their lawful businesses – and the millions of law-abiding Americans who purchase their firearms – as responsible for criminal acts perpetrated by those who break the law.
“The gun industry is profiting off the blood of innocent Americans,” Rep. Maloney proclaimed.
Chairwoman Maloney introduced a legislative package attacking the firearm industry in the waning days of her primary against Rep. Nadler, where polling has shown him as the heavy favorite. The bill has no chance of becoming law.
“Today’s legislation responds directly to findings from my Committee’s investigation showing that the top assault weapon manufacturers have collected more than $1 billion in revenue selling assault weapons to civilians, while refusing to track the crimes carried out with these weapons,” Rep. Maloney said in press release.
She’s referring to the record numbers of modern sporting rifles (MSRs) that Americans legally purchased over the past several years. Industry data shows there are now more than 24.4 million MSRs in circulation since the 1990s, demonstrating the popularity of the firearm. That figure includes more than 4.5 million since 2020.
Tax and Track
Rep. Maloney’s gun control package includes two bills. The first, the Firearm Industry Fairness Act, mandates a new 20 percent tax on total revenue of firearm manufacturers who make MSRs, or the AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles she erroneously calls “assault weapons.” The tax is not just on MSR sales but total revenue. Not surprisingly, the funds would “be used to prevent gun violence and support victims.” Rep. Maloney doesn’t say how she would go after criminals who break the law to prevent them from committing crimes.
Firearm and ammunition manufacturers already pay excise taxes on the firearms and ammo they make, supported by law-abiding Americans who buy them. That total has added up to more than $15.3 billion since 1937.
The second bill, the Firearm Industry Crime and Trafficking Accountability Act, would make it a requirement that every firearm manufacturer create a tracking database system that allows them to track crimes committed with guns they have sold. This disregards the Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Statistics report that shows 90 percent of felons convicted of a crime involving a firearm admit they obtained it illegally.
Congresswoman Maloney has served Washington, D.C., since 1993. She’s looking to serve for an eleventh term and casting blame for the crime problem in the wrong place. Crime is particularly important to her New York City voters. Blaming the lawful firearm industry for the actions of criminals, however, is misguided and does nothing to protect her voters.
Rep. Maloney ignores the fact that firearms lawfully-sold at retail, where the buyer passes an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verification, amount to only a tiny sliver of the guns used to commit crimes, according to recent data. Even Rep. Maloney’s own mayor, New York City’s Democratic Mayor Eric Adams understands. He criticized the soft-on-criminal approach in his own city, complaining, “How do you take a gun law seriously when the overwhelming numbers are back on the streets after carrying a gun?”
It’s late in the game for Rep. Maloney as Election Day is here. Her gun control antics might work in a New York City Democratic primary and the seat will stay Democratic. Across the country, though, millions of law-abiding Americans have shown they don’t want more gun control.
NSSF reminds voters to #GUNVOTE at the polls in November.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.