Gunmaker Smith & Wesson’s CEO blames politicians for ‘surge in violence and lawlessness’

The CEO of gunmaker Smith & Wesson on Monday blamed politicians “and their lobbying partners in the media” for a “crisis of violence” two weeks after House lawmakers subpoenaed the company for information about the manufacture and sale of its AR-15 style firearms.

“They are the ones to blame for the surge in violence and lawlessness, and they seek to avoid any responsibility for the crisis of violence they have created by attempting to shift the blame to Smith & Wesson, other firearm manufacturers and law-abiding gun owners,” Mark Smith wrote of politicians in a statement shared to Twitter.

Smith recently declined an invitation to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is investigating gun violence and the firearm industry in the wake of recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y.

Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) then subpoenaed Smith’s company for documents related to its AR-15-style firearms. 

Maloney hit back at Smith’s Monday statement, calling the gunmaker CEO out for refusing to testify and “take responsibility for selling the assault weapons used to massacre Americans.”

“Highland Park, Parkland, San Bernardino, Aurora—these mass murders were all committed with Smith & Wesson assault weapons,” Maloney said in a statement obtained by The Hill on Thursday.

“Clearly, Smith & Wesson will do anything to protect the enormous profits it collects selling deadly assault weapons.”

The committee homed in on Smith & Wesson as one of five major U.S. manufacturers whose semi-automatic weapons have been used in mass shootings, with the others being Bushmaster, Daniel Defense, Sig Sauer, and Sturm, Ruger & Co.

A recent report by the committee found that major gun manufacturers earned more than $1 billion from sales of military-style assault weapons to American civilians in the last decade, as hundreds of thousands are purchased annually.

Maloney has called out the gun manufacturers for “deeply disturbing, exploitative and reckless” marketing tactics targeted at young men. 

But Smith on Monday accused politicians of preventing “firearm manufacturers and supporters of the 2nd Amendment from advertising products in a manner designed to remind law-abiding citizens that they have a Constitutional right to bear arms in defense of themselves and their families.” 

He alleged that politicians and the news media have supported inept prosecutors and “vilified, undermined and defunded law enforcement,” creating a “culture of lawlessness.” 

“A Smith & Wesson firearm has never broken into a home; a Smith & Wesson firearm has never assaulted a woman out for a late-night run in the city; a Smith & Wesson firearm has never carjacked an unsuspecting driver stopped at a traffic light,” Smith wrote, countering with the argument that the gunmaker equips victims for self-defense.

Updated Thursday at 4:42 p.m.

Tags ar-15 Carolyn Maloney Carolyn Maloney gun manufacturers House Oversight Committee smith & wesson
See all Hill.TV See all Video