Sales of AR-15 style weapons have brought in more than $1 billion in revenue for gun manufacturing companies in the last decade, according to a House investigation released on Wednesday.
The committee found that two manufacturing companies, Daniel Defense — which manufactured the weapon used in the Uvalde shooting — and Ruger had tripled their gross earnings from AR-15 style rifles in the last three years.
Daniel Defense’s revenue from AR-15 style rifles went from $40 million in 2019 to $120 million in 2021. Ruger’s revenue from these weapons went from $39 million in 2019 to $103 million.
The committee said the findings are consistent with trends in the gun industry where gun sales tend to peak after elections, civil unrest and mass shootings.
Gun manufacturing companies often use financing and manipulative marketing tactics to sell AR-15 style weapons to civilians including young people, according to the committee’s findings.
The committee found some gun manufacturer advertisements mimic first-person shooter video games popular with young people or target young men by claiming weapons will put them “at the top of the testosterone food chain.”
These marketing tactics are “deeply disturbing, exploitative and reckless,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., the chairwoman of the committee, told the AP. “In short, the gun industry is profiting off the blood of innocent Americans.”
The committee also found gun manufacturers fail to track or monitor deaths, injuries or crimes that occur with their product and fail to track when weapons have been illegally modified.
The findings were released ahead of an upcoming committee hearing on the marketing and sales of weapons that gained notoriety because of mass shootings, according to the AP.
The investigation reviewed the financial earnings of five major gun manufacturers: Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Daniel Defense, Sig Sauer and Bushmaster.