Republicans on the committee defended the manufacturers, agreeing that “criminals” are responsible mass shootings rather than guns or weapons manufacturers.
Some lawmakers, like South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace, called the hearings “political theater.”
Rep. Jody Hice, a Georgia Republican, and Tennessee Republican James Comer, the committee’s ranking member, said the hearing was a part of a “disturbing trend in this committee of going after both private citizens and the constitutional rights of American citizens.”
“I want to know when are you, Chairwoman Maloney, going to apologize to the American citizens for not dealing with the real issues and showing responsibility and accountability?” Hice asked — trying to redirect the focus to what he said was a more important issue.
“When are we gonna have hearings in this committee, holding people responsible in cities, municipalities, states and right here in our own Congress, for being soft on crime? When are we going to have hearings to do away with the ridiculous, outrageous policies of defunding the police?” he said.
[Marty] Daniel, [CEO] of Daniel Defense, said that he was at the hearing voluntarily but was “concerned” that the implied purpose of the hearing was to vilify and blame rifles for recent deadly shootings.
Two months ago, the Uvalde gunman used a Daniel Defense weapon to kill 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school.
“Many Americans, myself included, have witnessed an erosion of personal responsibility in our country and in our culture. Mass shootings are all but unheard of just a few decades ago,” Daniel said. “So what changed? Not the firearms … I believe our nation’s response needs to focus not on the type of gun but on the type of persons who are likely to commit mass shootings.”
During his testimony, Daniel said he wanted to reduce violent crime. He said that the hearing focused on a weapon, the AK-15 (sic), that is responsible for less than 4% of homicides.
[Ruger CEO Christopher] Killoy began his testimony by discussing his corporation’s safety practices, then defended the right to gun possession despite the push by some in Congress for further restrictions and reforms.
“We firmly believe it’s wrong to deprive citizens of their constitutional right because of the criminal acts of wicked people. The firearm, any firearm, can be used for good or evil,” Killoy said. “The differences in the intent of the individual possessing it, which we respectfully submit can be the focus of any investigation into the root causes of criminal violence involving firearms.”
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., asked Killoy if he would track crimes committed with his company’s firearms as part of a new human rights assessment.
“Congressman, respectfully, that’s not our job. We’re not law enforcement. We don’t have the resources or capability to track injuries or fatalities.” Killoy said.
Isabella Murray and Mason Leib in Gun CEOs testify to House after mass shootings, blame ‘erosion of personal responsibility’