Mother Jones’ article, Fully Loaded, documents U.S. gun manufacturers use of money to buy politicians, military officers, and influence.
A prime example of buying influence is Springfield Armory. The magazine points to Dennis Reese, one of the two current owners of the company. Dennis and his brother Tom stopped a proposed Illinois ban on assault weapons by threatening to move the company’s factory out of the state and across the river to Iowa.
Their nefarious activity did not stop there. In 1989, Mother Jones reported that Dennis Reese admitted to authorities to offering bribes to U.S. Army Colonel Juan de la Cruz ($70,000 and a Rolex watch) in exchange for helping the company sell $1.7 million worth of arms to El Salvador. Reese was allowed to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for testifying against de la Cruz.
Springfield Armory has donated over $1 million to the National Rifle Association. In 2014, the company made over 576,000 guns for the U.S. market. It has, according to Mother Jones, an estimated $117 million global revenue.
Then there is Barrett Firearms. In 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called for a ban on the .50-caliber Barrett M82 and M107 sniper rifle. Christi then vetoed the bill four months later. Mother Jones reported the New Jersey governor excused his veto by saying the bill went further than he intended by prohibiting current owners from keeping the weapon.
In the middle of the debate over the bill Governor Christie’s campaign accepted $3,000 from a National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbyist.
Ronnie Barrett, Barrett Firearms CEO, sits on the NRA’s board of directors.
The magazine cites the National Accountability Office as reporting, “The Barrett .50-caliber rifles have been used by drug cartels, militia groups, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and terrorist organizations.”