Lawmakers call for investigation against gun company that they say is marketing to kids

The company calls the JR-15 a youth training rifle. Lawmakers call it the junior version of the AR-15.
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 3:32 PM PST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Democratic Senators are calling for action to stop a gun company that they say is marketing to kids.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) joined together in a news conference to call on the FTC to investigate WEE1 Tactical’s marketing of the ‘JR-15′ rifle. The Senators believe the marketing is clearly geared towards children.

“If there’s any doubt that they’re not marketing to kids, look at this poster. This is put out by the company. Young kid and the gun,” said Sen. Schumer as he pointed to one of the company’s website photos which pictures a child holding the gun with an adult supervising.

The Senators believe there is little difference between the JR-15 and an AR-15.

“An idea like this, a children’s AR-15 should just not see the light of day,” said Schumer.

“It is imperative that the Federal Trade Commission take action immediately in order to ban the marketing of these weapons that only belong on battle fields not in the hands of children of our country,” added Sen. Markey.

The Chicago-based gun company released this statement, “The JR-15 .22 youth training rifle is for adults who wish to supervise the safe introduction of hunting and shooting sports to the next generation of responsible gun owners. Parents and guardians wanting to pass on this American tradition have been purchasing small caliber, lighter youth training rifles for decades. The JR-15 incorporates a patented safety mechanism that provides an added level of safety available on no other rifle in production.”

But Senators call the advertising deceptive. The Senators note kids under 18 aren’t even allowed to own guns.

“Marketing to toddlers and encouraging parents to buy assault weapons for their small children this isn’t just about WEE1. This is an industry wide practice,” said Sen. Murphy.

Sen. Blumenthal compared the advertising to that of the tobacco industry.

“This weapon and these ads are the Joe Camel of the arms industry today. The firearms industry has taken a page from big tobacco’s book. In fact they’ve taken the whole book,” said Blumenthal.

The FTC has not released a comment.