(NewsNation) — The CEO of gunmaker Smith & Wesson faced backlash a day after blaming politicians and the media for the surge in violence across the country.
“They are the ones to blame for the surge in violence and lawlessness,” Mark Smith wrote in a statement posted on social media. “And they seek to avoid any responsibility for the crisis of violence they have created by attempting to shift the blame to Smith & Wesson, other firearm manufacturers and law-abiding gun owners.”
Smith blamed lawmakers, referencing progressive crime policies, saying in part, “Some have had the audacity to suggest that …. Smith & Wesson and other firearm manufacturers are somehow responsible for the crime wave that has predictably resulted from these destructive policies.”
Smith’s statement comes two weeks after House lawmakers subpoenaed the company for information about the manufacture and sale of its AR-15-style firearms.
The CEO refused to testify alongside fellow firearm executives in front of the House Oversight Committee, which has been investigating the industry in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, Uvalde, Texas, Highland Park, Illinois, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
According to the committee, major gun manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson, have made more than a billion dollars in the last decade selling military-style weapons.
FBI firearm background check data suggests gun sales rose in Texas, Illinois and New York in the wake of those shootings that collectively killed 38 people.
Backlash from politicians was quick and pointed.
“No civilian needs an assault rifle and the Second Amendment does not protect the right to own a weapon of war,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the Oversight Committee.
Maloney issued a subpoena to Smith & Wesson for documents related to its manufacture and sales of AR-15-style guns after Smith cancelled his appearance before the committee.
The subpoena states, in part, “Your testimony would have shed light on why your company continues to sell and market these weapons to civilians despite recent mass shootings with your products.”
Sen Roland Gutierrez, D-Texas, said blame falls everywhere.
“At the end of the day, Mark Smith is in the business of selling guns and I understand that,” he said. “Politicians need to create policies that keep his guns out of the hands of kids and that hasn’t happened.”
Smith concluded his public statement by saying Smith & Wesson would never back down in their defense of the Second Amendment.
The Hill contributed to this report.