Conference visitors look at guns in the Smith Wesson booth last April at the 2015 National Merchandise Authority annual conference in Nashville, Tenn.
Karen Blair | AFP | Getty Images
After issuing a statement earlier this week blaming politicians for an uptick in gun violence, Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith is facing a new backlash after weeks of refusing to testify at a House hearing alongside his colleagues. Senior executives from other arms makers.
Smith said Monday that his company “will never back down from our defense of the Second Amendment” and also accused politicians and the media of the escalation in gun violence happening across the country. The National Rifle Association, the nation’s leading pro-gun group, posted the statement in full on its website.
“A number of politicians and their lobbyists in the media have recently sought to discredit Smith & Wesson,” Smith wrote.
Representative of the Chairman of the Oversight Committee. Carolyn Maloney, DNY, dismissed his comments in a statement to CNBC on Wednesday, accusing him of seeking to protect the company’s profits.
“The Smith & Wesson CEO declined to testify before my committee and address families who have lost a loved one to his company’s weapons of war,” Maloney said. “The commission will not allow Smith & Wesson to avoid accountability or obfuscation of the gun industry’s role in fueling the epidemic of gun violence in our country.”
The Oversight Committee was investigating the US firearms industry. According to the commission, major arms manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson, have made more than $1 billion in the past decade selling military-style weapons through purported marketing practices.
“Highland Park, Parkland, San Bernardino, Aurora — all of these mass murders were committed with Smith & Wesson assault rifles,” Maloney said. “As the world watches the families of Parkland victims relive their trauma through the shooter’s trial, it is inconceivable that Smith & Wesson still refuses to take responsibility for the sale of assault weapons used to kill Americans.”
Kyle Rittenhouse also used a Smith & Wesson rifle to kill two people and injure a third during a 2020 protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse has been acquitted of all charges related to the shooting.
The nonprofit organization Everytown for Gun Safety also criticized Smith’s statement.
“Smith & Wesson’s explosive statement — and their CEO avoiding during a congressional hearing — tells me they’re scared,” Everytown CEO Nick Suplina told Gun Safety.
CNBC has reached out to Smith & Wesson for further comments.
In July, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing with the CEOs of major gun manufacturers Sturm, Ruger & Company and Daniel Defense. They defended their business, arguing that the focus should be on shooters and mental health reform. Smith was also scheduled to appear at the hearing but withdrew only five days earlier, according to committee documents.
The commission issued a subpoena to Smith & Wesson for documentation relating to its manufacture and sale of AR-15 firearms.
Smith, in his statement Monday, said politicians have “distorted, undermined, and defunded law enforcement for years, supported attorneys general who refuse to hold criminals accountable for their actions, oversaw the erosion of our country’s mental health infrastructure, and generally fostered a culture of lawlessness.” And Smith & Wesson and other firearms manufacturers are somehow responsible for the wave of crime that has predictably resulted from these devastating policies.”
He did not name any politician.
Everytown for Gun Safety participated in the 2020 complaint filed against Smith & Wesson with the Federal Trade Commission. The group accused the company of using unfair and misleading practices to market the guns to young consumers.
“For too long, they have been allowed to disavow any responsibility for their role in the epidemic of gun violence in our country and the atrocities committed with their products. Instead, they did everything they could to sell more guns to more people, the consequences damned. But the American people were enough, Sobelina said.
Smith & Wesson is due to release its next quarterly earnings report on September 3rd. 7. Its stock is down more than 13% so far this year.