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U.S. Senate Democrats to push FTC to restrict marketing of guns to children


A group of U.S. Senate Democrats will introduce legislation on Thursday directing the Federal Trade Commission to create rules banning the marketing of firearms to children, including the JR-15, which has become a target of gun control advocates.

The planned legislation comes roughly a week after Democrats publicly called on the FTC to probe the marketing techniques of gun manufacturer Wee 1 Tactical, maker of the JR-15 .22 Long Rifle. The similarly named AR-15-style rifle has been used in a number of high-profile deadly shootings in the United States in recent years.

The bill has slim chance of becoming law as Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, have largely opposed additional gun control measures, consistently arguing they infringe on the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The legislation, known as the Protecting Kids from Gun Marketing Act, would in practice give the FTC the tools to go after gun manufacturers. Regulations already restrict the marketing of alcohol, tobacco and other products to minors.

“A junior version of the AR-15 has no place in a kid’s toy box,” said Senator Ed Markey, the lead sponsor of the legislation.

Neither the FTC nor Wee 1 Tactical immediately responded to a request for comment. The company has previously said its JR-15 rifle was designed to allow adults to safely introduce shooting and hunting sports to the next generation.

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AR-15 style rifles are displayed for sale at Firearms Unknown, a gun store in Oceanside, California, U.S., April 12, 2021. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) displays a placard showing WEE1 Tactical’s “JR-15” during a news conference on the marketing of rifles to children, at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque