Today’s House Oversight Committee hearing on “the practices and profits of gun manufacturers” was just as one-sided and propagandistic as you would expect from a meeting controlled by Democrats and chaired by longtime anti-gun politician Carolyn Maloney of New York. On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we’re taking a look at some of the new lows, misinformation, and outright falsehoods unleashed by House Democrats during the hearing, starting with Maloney herself.
The chairwoman of the Oversight Committee started things off by falsely claiming that gun makers are selling AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles to “children”, which would be a clear violation of federal law. No one under the age of 18 can lawfully purchase a rifle or shotgun at retail, and you must be at least 21-years old to buy a handgun from a federally licensed firearms retailer. 18-year olds may still be teenagers, but they’re also legal adults in the eyes of the law, and Maloney was simply wrong to assert otherwise.
Things didn’t get any better from there, with Maloney asking questions to the CEOs of Daniel Defense and Sturm, Ruger like how many more children have to die before you will stop selling “weapons of war” that are the “weapon of choice in most mass murders”; another blatant falsehood easily disproved by looking at FBI data, which shows that handguns are used far more frequently in both active shooting incidents and violent crimes like aggravated assaults and homicides of all types.
There were some odd lines of attack from other Democrats on the Oversight Committee, including Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, who took issue with the fact that many manufacturers allow for firearms to be bought on credit or using payment plans. Lynch honed in on the fact that the killer in Uvalde, Texas purchased a Daniel Defense rifle in that manner, while ignoring the fact that far more law-abiding Americans have done the same. In Lynch’s world it would be illegal to buy a firearm on a payment plan, even though requiring all gun owners to pay 100% cash up front would make it difficult if not impossible for many Americans living paycheck to paycheck and struggling under Bidenflation to save the money necessary to purchase a firearm for self-defense.
Rep. Katie Porter of California, meanwhile, tried to make the case that gun companies are willfully ignoring “safety features” like fingerprint scanners that would identify authorized users before a gun could be fired. Porter claimed that “smart guns” are already on the market, though from what I’ve been able to tell companies like Lodestar Firearms and SmartGunz (which uses RFID technology instead of a biometric fingerprint reader) haven’t yet opened up sales to consumers.
Porter asked both gun company CEOs at the hearing whether they would commit to putting fingerprint readers on all of their future firearms, and both Daniel Defense’s Marty Daniel and Sturm, Ruger’s Christopher Killoy told her “no,” with Daniel adding that his customers haven’t asked for such a feature. Killoy tried to explain some of the inherent flaws in “smart gun” technology, but like Maloney and many of the other Democrats on the Oversight Committee, Porter cut him off rather than let him finish a complete sentence.
The intent of today’s hearing was twofold for Democrats; first to provide committee members with a soundbite-friendly setting to scapegoat gun makers and blame them for the actions of criminals, but also to try to goose support for the “assault weapons” ban that was scheduled for a vote in the House Rules Committee this afternoon. Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ended up yanking the bill from consideration after an intra-party squabble between progressives and moderates over the legislation and a companion bill that would have increased funding for local law enforcement.
In her closing statement, Maloney asserted that she invited gun makers to today’s hearing to apologize to the victims of mass shootings and to promise to stop the sale of “assault weapons” in the future before calling on Congress to ban modern sporting rifles and to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, once again using the podium to demonize the firearms industry instead of looking for real solutions aimed preventing violent actors from carrying out their cowardly acts. Maloney and her cohorts have made it clear that their path to public safety involves taking a bulldozer to the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, and I suspect that Republican congressional candidates will be making use of their colleagues’ anti-gun rhetoric in their own campaign ads between now and November. Lord knows Maloney and company gave them plenty of material to work with today.