- Smith & Wesson’s CEO said politicians are to blame for the recent surge in violence, not the gunmaker.
- Mark Smith’s statement comes two weeks after getting subpoenaed by the US House Oversight Committee.
- The House accused Smith & Wesson of making no effort to track violence caused by its AR-15-style weapons.
Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith released a fiery statement on Monday, blaming politicians for a “surge in violence and lawlessness” two weeks after the US House Oversight Committee subpoenaed the firearm maker for information about its AR-15 style firearms.
In the statement, Smith accuses “politicians and their lobbying partners in the media” of contributing to rising violence, saying “some have had the audacity to suggest that after they have vilified, undermined and defunded law enforcement for years, supported prosecutors who refuse to hold criminals accountable for their actions, overseen the decay of our country’s mental health infrastructure, and generally promoted a culture of lawlessness, Smith & Wesson and other firearm manufacturers are somehow responsible for the crime wave that has predictably resulted from these destructive policies.”
As of 2020, which is the most recent data available, violent crimes stayed relatively flat, according to The Brennan Center for Justice, a non-profit law and policy institute. The national murder rate, however, has risen in the last two years after steadily falling during recent decades, though it is still well below the high point of the last 25 years, The Brennan Center says.
On the other hand, gun deaths are breaking records. More Americans died of gun-related injuries in 2020 than in any other year on record, according to data from the CDC. The CDC has not released data for 2021 yet.
Smith partially attributed the climb in violence to politicians defunding the police. While calls to defund the police grew in popularity after the nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd in 2020, many cities in America restored police budgets the following year, according to the New York Times.
The strong words from Smith come less than two weeks after the US House Oversight Committee subpoenaed Smith & Wesson for documents related to the company’s manufacture and sale of AR-15-style assault rifles, including internal communication around mass shootings.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, said the subpoena was issued after Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith declined to testify at the committee’s recent hearing held in the wake of several mass shootings that involved assault-style rifles.
The US House has accused Smith & Wesson of making no effort to internally track or monitor deaths, injuries, or crimes associated with its AR-15-style rifles.
Mark Smith pushed back in his statement, saying, “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. Instead, Smith & Wesson provides these citizens with the means to protect themselves and their families.”