Gun makers made millions marketing AR-15s as a sign of masculinity: NPR

AR-15 rifles will be on display at Burbank Ammo & Guns in Burbank, California in June.

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Jae C. Hong/AP

AR-15 rifles will be on display at Burbank Ammo & Guns in Burbank, California in June.

Jae C. Hong/AP

WASHINGTON — Gun manufacturers have made more than $1 billion in the past decade selling AR-15 assault rifles, sometimes marketing them as a way for young men to assert their masculinity, even as the number of mass shootings rises. to a Home research It was unveiled on Wednesday

The weapons have been used in massacres that have shocked the nation, including one that killed 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo and another that killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas. They were shot dead.

Some ads mimic popular first-person shooter video games or tout the weapons’ military pedigree, while others claim the guns put buyers at the top of the testosterone food chain, the Oversight and Reform Committee said.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, said the sales tactics were “deeply offensive, exploitative and reckless.” In short, the gun industry profits off the blood of innocent Americans.

Gun manufacturers, on the other hand, say that AR-15-style rifles are responsible for a small fraction of gun homicides and that the blame should lie with the shooters rather than their weapons.

“What we saw in Ovalde Park, Buffalo and Highland was pure evil,” said Marty Daniels, CEO of Daniel Defense, the Texas-based manufacturer of the weapon. “The cruelty of the killers who committed these acts is unfathomable and deeply saddens me, my family, my employees, and millions of Americans across this country.”

However, he later added in testimony before the committee, “I believe these murders are local problems that need to be solved locally.”

Gun violence in general It increased in 2020, but recent statistics show that it will decrease in many cities this year.

The House panel’s investigation focused on five major gun manufacturers and found that they collectively earned more than $1 billion over the past 10 years from sales of AR-15-style firearms. The revenue numbers were released for a committee hearing focused on the marketing and sale of firearms known for their use in mass killings.

The committee found that two of the arms companies nearly tripled their revenue over the past three years. Daniel Defense, based near Savannah, Georgia, grew that revenue from $40 million in 2019 to more than $120 million last year. The company sells weapons like the one used at Uvalde on credit, advertising that financing can be approved “in seconds.”

Salvador Ramos, accused of shooting Uvalde. He started buying weapons and ammunition When he turned 18, he ended up spending more than $5,000 on two AR-style rifles, ammunition and other items in the days before the massacre, authorities said.

Meanwhile, Sturm, Ruger & Co.’s gross revenue from 2019 nearly tripled from $39 million to $103 million, and Smith & Wesson reported that its revenue from all long guns from 2019 to 2021 will double. equaled Gun manufacturers, the committee said, do not collect or analyze safety data on firearms.

These increases are in the context of the record increase in gun sales since the beginning of the corona virus epidemic. About 8.5 million people bought guns for the first time in 2020, said Rep. Judy Hayes, R-Georgia. He added: American people have the right to have guns.

The meeting is coming Among the pressure of the Democrats in the House of Representatives Passage of legislation banning certain semi-automatic weapons. It is the most extensive response by lawmakers to mass shootings this summer.

While AR-15-style firearms are generally not a major driver of gun violence in the United States, their design allows shooters to to harm more people from a greater distance. To end gun violence generally supports restrictions.

“If we extend the assault weapons ban, it removes a significant part of what allows mass shooters to kill more people in less time without stopping to reload,” he said.

According to the Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University Mass Murder Database, there have been 15 mass murders this year. According to that investigation, these incidents left 86 dead and 63 injured. Guns were used in all of them, and at least seven were AR-15-style weapons. Mass killings are incidents in which at least four people are killed.

But AR-15s and similar weapons are also popular among people buying guns for self-defense, said Antonia Okafor, national outreach director for the Gun Owners Group of America. Such rifles allow people, including women, to shoot a larger gun without much recoil.

“The AR-15 gives the physically challenged the upper hand,” he said.

Maloney said Wednesday’s hearing was the first time in 20 years that CEOs of leading gun manufacturers testified about their business.

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