Smith & Wesson refused to appear for a hearing on mass shootings, so now they’ve been subpoenaed.
An oversight panel from the House of Representatives is looking into gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson after a long string of mass shootings featured their firearms, especially AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles. The company’s CEO, Mark P. Smith, had agreed to testify along with the heads of two other firearm companies, but he reneged a few days before the hearing. According to panel chair Carolyn Maloney, his company also failed to provide all of the requested data.
So on Tuesday, the panel subpoenaed Smith & Wesson for all documentation related to the manufacture and sale of the guns in question, as well as all internal communications around mass shootings.
The July 4 parade shooting in Chicago was carried out with Smith & Wesson’s M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle. AR-15 style rifles have been used in at least 6 of the 14 other mass shootings that have happened since May.
According to the oversight panel’s probe, five major gun-makers, including S&W, have made over $1 billion in revenue since 2012 on AR-15-style firearms alone. They have been advertised to young men and the fathers of sons, particularly, with biblical quotes or slogans like “Never a victim. Always the victor,” and “Consider Your Man Card Reissued.”
Gun-makers and gun-rights enthusiasts say the weapons themselves aren’t to blame for mass shooting. The House panel, while considering reviving the assault weapon ban that was allowed to expire under George Bush in 2004, is also looking at other gun control measures, such as restricting the ways gun-makers and firearms dealers are allowed to advertise. That move would have precedence, in the laws restricting tobacco companies. Tobacco companies aren’t allowed to sponsor events, and any advertisement they post, anywhere, must be at least 20% warning material.
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