Gun control advocates on Wednesday sharply condemned an Illinois-based company for recently unveiling the JR-15, a long rifle inspired by the AR-15 but marketed for children.
"The marketing of children's assault rifles... can only increase the threat of gun death and injury to children."
Although it is under 2.5 pounds and 20% smaller than the standard version, the JR-15 "operates just like Mom and Dad's gun," WEE1 Tactical said in a statement. The weapon "functions like a modern sporting rifle," but its "lightweight and rugged polymer construction and ergonomics are geared towards children."
WEE1 Tactical launched the JR-15 earlier this month at an annual trade show sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is based in Newtown, Connecticut—where a gunman with an AR-15 murdered 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
"The callousness of the National Shooting Sports Foundation to promote a children's version of the same type of assault rifle that was used in a horrific mass shooting of 20 first graders and six educators in our shared community is just the latest proof that the organization, and the gun manufacturers it represents, will do anything in pursuit of continued profits," Po Murray, chairwoman of the Newtown Action Alliance, said Wednesday.
Other critics of the new rifle took aim at the gun-maker, which is also selling "swag" featuring cartoon skulls with baby pacifiers—one with bows and pigtails, and another with a mohawk.
As Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center (VPC), put it: "At first glance, this comes across as a grotesque joke. On second look, it's just grotesque."
"That a gun-maker has embraced imagery of dead children to promote gun ownership by youth surreally illustrates how detached this industry is from the death and injury that result from its products, especially among the young," he added.
Sugarmann authored VPC's 2016 report entitled "Start Them Young": How the Firearms Industry and Gun Lobby Are Targeting Your Children. He likened the gun lobby's efforts targeting young people to those of Big Tobacco.
The tragic frequency of shootings involving children and teenagers is well documented and unfortunately now a regular part of our daily existence. Yet few realize that the firearms industry and the organizations that represent their interests, including the National Rifle Association, have made it one of their top marketing priorities to promote the use of guns among America's children, as young as grade-school age. In doing so, the gun industry is following a trail once blazed by the tobacco industry in its efforts to entice children to smoke cigarettes.
The report concludes that "while the firearms industry and gun lobby consistently work to present this marketing effort in terms of tradition and family, the real impetus lies in profit and political power. Most tragically, the effects of this campaign are all too often measured in unnecessary death and crippling injury."
In line with such marketing tactics, WEE1 Tactical said in its statement that "the JR-15 is the first in a line of shooting platforms that will safely help adults introduce children to the shooting sports."
Kathleen Sances, president and CEO of One Aim Illinois, expressed concern about what lies ahead as adults purchase the weapon for children.
"The marketing of children's assault rifles by an Illinois company not only brings shame to our state," she said, "but can only increase the threat of gun death and injury to children here and across the nation."
Jimmy Kimmel mocks Eric Trump for going on Fox News: 'The closest he can get to a Zoom with his dad'
Jimmy Kimmel mocked Eric Trump on Wednesday night for claiming on Fox News that his father "sat there 24 hours a day" working while in the White House.
"Speaking of dumb people, Eric Trump — are you familiar with his work? — he was on Fox last night," Kimmel said during his monologue. "That's the closest he can get to a Zoom with his dad, and in some ways you really have to hand it to this family, because what they say is in no way affected by what's true."
"I agree with the 'sat there 24 hours a day' part — but you forgot to mention on the toilet pleasuring himself to Lou Dobbs," Kimmel added. "You left the key part out. Listen, Donald Trump played 87 rounds of golf on his first year on the job."
"And he's still out there, by the way, teeing off and getting ready to get back to not working," Kimmel said, before playing a clip that surfaced Wednesday morning of Trump referring to himself as the "45th and 47th president" while playing one of his golf courses. People off camera in the video could be heard responding with "I love that" and "beautiful."
"Some caddies really know how to wash balls," Kimmel said.
Watch the full monologue below.
Trump REALLY Exaggerated His Wealth, Jimmy’s Pick for Supreme Court & Doocy’s Stupid Non-Questions www.youtube.com
A Republican state lawmaker who is a "life member" of the Oath Keepers could face expulsion from Alaska's House of Representatives.
Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, attended former president Donald Trump's Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6, but it's unclear if he participated in the subsequent riot, and he has not been charged with any related crimes.
After 11 members of the Oath Keepers were indicted on seditious conspiracy charges for their role in the insurrection, members of the Alaska House's coalition majority are discussing whether and how to punish Eastman, the Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday night.
"Multiple members of the largely-Democratic coalition said their talks have involved a variety of possible punishments or actions, including expelling him from the House," the newspaper reported. "Other options include a legislative investigation, a non-binding vote of disapproval, passing legislation related to a disloyalty clause in the Alaska Constitution, removing Eastman from committees, cutting his staff or censuring him."
Alaska's Constitution includes a disloyalty clause barring anyone "who advocates, or who aids or belongs to any party or organization or association which advocates, the overthrow by force or violence of the government of the United States or of the State” from holding public office.
"Eastman also has not denounced the Oath Keepers or denied his membership in the group, and when the group’s leaders were charged, Eastman called the accusations 'politically driven indictments,'" the newspaper reported.
Eastman was previously censured by the House for claiming that women in rural villages "try to get pregnant so they can get a free trip to a city for an abortion," the newspaper reported. That marked the first time the Alaska House has ever censured a member. Only one member has been expelled, following a bribery conviction in the 1980s.
Expulsion would require a two-thirds majority vote, meaning it would need Republican support. However, some lawmakers reportedly fear that taking lesser action would "allow Eastman to portray himself as a victim persecuted for political reasons rather than for a violation of the Alaska Constitution."
It's also possible that the Alaska Division of Elections will consider the state Constitution's disloyalty clause when determining whether Eastman is qualified to run for re-election, which he reportedly plans to do.