U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Anti-gun Democrat Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, chair of the House Oversight Committee, was terse, interruptive and ultimately frustrated during a five-plus-hour hearing on what Roll Call described as “the role of gun manufacturers in the wave of mass shootings in recent weeks.”
There were moments of flaring tempers, robust rhetoric and political soundbites for which such show hearings have become famous.
Maloney challenged the heads of two prominent firearms companies—Chris Killoy at Sturm, Ruger and Marty Daniel at Daniel Defense—to “accept responsibility” and apologize to victims of mass shootings and their families. It was a grandstand play and set the tone for the remainder of a contentious hearing during which Democrats repeatedly called modern semi-auto rifles “weapons of war” while Republicans steadfastly defended private gun ownership.
Maloney first directed her fury at Daniel, demanding, “Mr. Daniel, you have sent thoughts and prayers to the victims of Uvalde but you have never accepted responsibility for selling the weapons that killed these innocent children. And you testified earlier that there has been a decline in personal responsibility. I want to give you the opportunity now to show personal responsibility. Will you accept personal responsibility for your company’s role in this tragedy and apologize to the families of Uvalde?”
Daniel’s response seemed only to frustrate Maloney: “Chairwoman Maloney, these acts are committed by murderers. The murderers are responsible…” at which point the 30-year Capitol Hill veteran interrupted, turning her attention to Killoy.
“Mr. Killoy, how about you,” Maloney asked. “Will you apologize to the victims her today and the victims around our country and their families in Sutherland Springs, Boulder and other cities who were harmed by your products?”
Killoy, maintaining his cool, replied, “Congresswoman, with all due respect, while I grieve like all Americans at these tragic incidences, again, to blame the firearm, the particular firearm in use here, the modern sporting rifle…” at which point Maloney interrupted him, also.
She then stated, “So let me get this straight and with all due respect, you market weapons of war to civilians and children, you make millions by selling them, but when someone pulls a trigger, you refuse to accept responsibility.”
There was no question heading into the hearing about where Maloney had wanted to take the discussion. Prior to the session, Maloney had issued a lengthy statement in which she demonized the firearms industry, “My Committee’s investigation has revealed that the country’s major gun manufacturers have collected more than $1 billion in revenue from selling military-style assault weapons to civilians. These companies are selling the weapon of choice for mass murderers who terrorize young children at school, hunt down worshippers at churches and synagogues, and slaughter families on the Fourth of July. In short, the gun industry is profiting off the blood of innocent Americans.”
She called the industry’s business practices “deeply disturbing, exploitative, and reckless.”
Her statement announced, “Today, my Committee will hear testimony from CEOs of two gun manufacturers, and I look forward to these executives answering for their actions.”
Translation: This was not a hearing but an inquisition.
Still, there were several moments when fact got the better of emotion, which may partly explain why, as reported by Roll Call, “House Democratic leaders pulled back on planned votes this week on a package of public safety bills that included police grant funding and an assault weapons ban, amid division within their caucus.”
Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA) demanded from Maloney early in the hearing, “I want to know when are you, chairwoman Maloney, going to apologize to the American citizens for not dealing with the real issue and showing responsibility and accountability? When are we going to have hearings in this committee holding people responsible in cities and municipalities and states and right here in our own Congress for being soft on crime?
“When are we going to have hearings,” he continued, “to do away with the ridiculous, outrageous policies of defunding the police? And do we really think that is a good idea when it comes to crime? Would anyone in their right mind think that crime would go down when we attack and defund police when we’re soft on crime?
“My colleagues seem to forget,” Hice observed, “that the American people have a right to own guns. It’s a constitutional right to defend themselves, and yet we have a perpetual barrage of politicized buzz words like have already been used here this morning, like ‘assault weapon’ and ‘weapons of war’ to support arbitrary gun grabs, not from criminals but from law-abiding American citizens.”
Ohio Republican Jim Jordan’s moment came when he told Democrats, “We should just cut to the chase. The Democrats’ beef is with the Second Amendment. They don’t like the Second Amendment. They want to get rid of the Second Amendment but they can’t because in the Constitution, the American people like the fact that we have the right to keep and bear arms to protect ourselves, our family, our property. They like that fact, and it’s a cumbersome process to amend and change the Constitution so they can’t do that. So they’re gonna say ‘We’re gonna ban a certain type of weapon, let’s call them ‘assault weapons,’ or they’re gonna come after gun manufacturers and try to sue them…That’s their course of action. Their beef is with the Second Amendment. They can’t change that, so they’re gonna go around it.”
For all the rhetoric and blame-gaming, the hearing consumed more than 5 ½ hours and it is unlikely anyone’s position changed. Media reports continue to use the term “assault weapon” despite an Associated Press style tip earlier this month suggesting they stop, and while it may lead to some action in the House, gun control legislation may not survive the Senate, especially if Republicans recapture control of Congress in November.
Perhaps Killoy, at Sturm, Ruger, summed it up by reminding the Oversight committee, “We firmly believe that it is wrong to deprive citizens of their constitutional right to purchase a lawful firearm they desire because of the criminal acts of wicked people. A firearm, any firearm, can be used for good or for evil. The difference is in the intent of the individual possessing it, which we respectfully submit, should be the focus of any investigation into the root causes of criminal violence involving firearms.”
It was not the direction Democrats want to take their investigation, and it was obviously not what they wanted to hear.
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.