“They are to blame for the increase in violence and lawlessness,” Smith wrote.
Homicide rates fell slightly in the first half of this year compared to 2021, but remain nearly 40 percent higher than where they were before the pandemic, according to a report the Criminal Justice Council post last month The think tank also found a sharp decline in the percentage of thefts and property crimes reported.
Gun deaths, however, have increased. In 2020 and 2021, there were 45,000 fatalities, the highest number since 1995, The Washington Post reported last month. The increase came as arms purchases also reached record levels.
Mass shootings in which four or more people are killed make up a small portion of gun violence. They account for less than 1 percent of people killed by firearms, The Post reported. However, these incidents are increasing and gaining widespread attention because they affect the psyche of Americans, creating a fear of being in public places.
Mass violence affects the psyche of Americans
The House Oversight Committee’s investigation into gun manufacturers began in late May, after mass shootings at a Buffalo grocery store and an elementary school in Uvalde, Tex., left 31 people dead in less than two weeks. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), the panel’s chairwoman, contacted five companies for information on the manufacture, sale and marketing of AR-15-style weapons used in the two incidents ; every gun used in the shootings was legally purchased.
Along with Smith & Wesson, which produced the gun used in the July 4 shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, the businesses under investigation include Daniel Defense, the maker of the rifle used at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, and Bushmaster, the maker of the gun used at a Tops Friendly Markets store in Buffalo. Sig Sauer, which made the gun used in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, and Sturm, Ruger & Co., which made the gun used in a 2017 Sutherland Springs, Texas, massacre, are also part of the of the probe.
Over the past decade, the five companies made more than $1 billion selling “military-style assault weapons to civilians,” the House committee reported last month.
“The gun industry has flooded our neighborhoods, our schools and even our churches and synagogues with these deadly weapons, and gotten rich doing it,” Maloney (DN.Y.) said during a hearing on the subject.
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The chief executives of Daniel Defense and Ruger testified before the committee, defending the ownership of military-style firearms and arguing that the focus should be on the shooters rather than the guns.
After Smith’s refusal to appear at the hearing, the House committee subpoenaed documents about Smith & Wesson’s sale and marketing of AR-15-style rifles. In a letter notifying the CEO of the subpoena, Maloney wrote that the company told the committee it “makes no effort” to track injuries, deaths or crimes associated with these weapons.
Smith said in Monday’s statement that “certain politicians” were trying to pass laws to restrict the Second Amendment and ban “posting products in a way designed to remind law-abiding citizens that they have a constitutional right to bear arms in defense of themselves and their families”.
He added, “We will never back down in our defense of the Second Amendment.”