HARTFORD– U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)  and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) in introducing the Protecting Kids from Gun Marketing Act, legislation that directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prescribe rules that prohibit the marketing of firearms to children.

The legislation comes as Americans suffered 52 mass shootings and 3,700 gun-related deaths across the United States in the first month of this year alone. There are restrictions on cigarette and tobacco advertising, on alcohol advertising, and on cannabis advertising, yet the firearms industry is not subject to any specific restrictions or limitations on their marketing practices. For decades, gunmakers have marketed their automatic rifle-style guns, the weapon of choice in mass shootings, and other weapons, to children. These weapons include Chicago-based WEE1 Tactical’s ‘JR-15’ assault-style weapon, marketed and sold as a child’s version of the AR-15 assault rifle.

 “Firearms are the leading cause of death for children in the United States, and it’s disgusting that marketing these deadly weapons to kids has become an industry-wide practice with devastating consequences. This legislation would ensure the FTC holds these companies accountable and stops them from advertising weapons of mass destruction to our kids. It should be a no brainer,” said Murphy.

“No assault style weapon should ever be marketed to a child. The gun industry has taken a page right out of Big Tobacco’s book, as they continue to prioritize profit over childrens’ safety,” said Blumenthal. “The FTC has the power and proof to stop these unconscionable marketing practices – and action is long overdue.”

Last week, Murphy and Blumenthal joined a press conference urging the FTC to investigate WEE1 Tactical’s JR-15 marketing and advertising tactics. In May 2022, they joined colleagues in writing to the FTC urging it to investigate WEE1 Tactical for these unfair and deceptive trade practices.

Specifically, the Protecting Kids from Gun Marketing Act would:

·       Direct the FTC to promulgate a rule prohibiting the marketing of firearms to minors;

·       Require the FTC to report to Congress on enforcement of the rule;

·       Authorize state attorneys general to bring actions for violations of the rule; and

·       Establish a private right of action for individuals to bring actions for violation of the rule.

The Protecting Kids from Gun Marketing Act is endorsed by March For Our Lives and Violence Policy Center.