Oversight Committee subpoenas Smith & Wesson for information on assault-style weapons

A Ruger AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, center, the same model, though in gray rather than black, used by the shooter in a Texas church massacre two days earlier, sits on display with other rifles on a wall in a gun shop Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Lynnwood, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The House Oversight and Reform Committee has subpoenaed gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson after the company’s CEO declined to testify as part of the panel’s investigation into the industry sparked by recent mass shootings.

Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) wrote a letter to Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith on Monday informing him of the subpoena, which follows the committee’s previous requests for the company to voluntarily provide information on their sale and marketing of AR-15–style rifles as many Democrats draw concerns over the weapons’ legality.

“This subpoena was necessitated by your unwillingness to voluntarily comply with the committee’s investigation, including your refusal to testify about your company’s troubling business practices at the committee’s July 27, 2022 hearing, and your refusal to voluntarily produce key information about your company’s sale of assault weapons to civilians,” Maloney wrote.

The committee’s scrutiny of the firearm industry was reignited by a string of recent high-profile mass shootings, namely the massacres at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.

Lawmakers passed a bipartisan gun safety package in June in response to the shootings, and many Democrats have pushed to reimplement an assault weapons ban. The ban passed the House on a near party-line vote last week, but the bill has little chance of passing the Senate.

Smith & Wesson also manufactured the weapon used by the alleged gunman in a Fourth of July parade shooting in Highland Park, Ill., that killed seven and wounded dozens.

The subpoena was first reported by The Washington Post.

Maloney said Smith initially agreed to appear before the committee at a hearing last month, but he “abruptly” withdrew five days beforehand, citing a refusal to be the only industry CEO to appear.

The committee rescheduled the hearing, leading to testimony from the Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Daniel Defense CEOs, but Smith still refused to attend the hearing, Maloney wrote in the letter.

“Committee staff made several good-faith attempts to secure your voluntary participation, including offering that you could testify remotely, but your counsel continued to indicate you would not appear,” Maloney wrote.

The Hill has reached out to Smith & Wesson and Smith’s lawyer for comment.

Maloney said Smith & Wesson’s response to the committee’s request for documents has also been “deficient,” saying the committee requested revenue, profit and sales information for semi-automatic rifles based on the AR platform, but the company only provided long-gun revenues, which include a broader category of firearms.

Based on the documents the committee did receive, the panel released a report in advance of its recent hearing detailing major gun manufacturers earned more than $1 billion from sales of military-style assault weapons in the last decade.

The committee also blamed manufacturers like Smith & Wesson for employing “manipulative marketing campaigns,” including ones modeled after popular video games and those indicating an apparent endorsement from law enforcement.

Maloney also wrote in the letter that Smith & Wesson informed the committee it makes no effort to track or monitor injuries, deaths or crimes associated with its AR-15–style rifles.

Tags AR-15 Carolyn Maloney Carolyn Maloney Carolyn Maloney gun manufacturers House House Oversight and Reform Committee mass shooting Oversight Committee Smith & Wesson
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