WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and fellow Democrats are demanding that the Federal Trade Commission clamp down on a gun manufacturer for marketing a mini assault-style rifle to children.
Illinois-based Wee 1 Tactical is selling a small "JR-15″ that can shoot up to 10 rounds, modeled on the infamous AR-15 often used in mass shootings.
The gunmaker, which has a logo that features small human skulls sucking on pacifiers says its weapons' "small size, lightweight rugged polymer construction and ergonomics are geared towards smaller enthusiasts."
"The last thing we need to be doing is reducing in size these deadly weapons of war and then marketing them to children. But that's what's happening," said Schumer.
It is illegal to sell guns to anyone under 18. But pointing to the company's web page, which features a child looking down the sights of a gun, Schumer said it's obvious that is what the company is trying to do.
"This stuff is pretty despicable. So we want the FTC to give it a thorough look," Schumer said.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., quoted the words of the company's CEO, Eric Schmid, talking about the toddler skull symbol the company uses as more proof the company is trying to sell weapons to children.
"We worked hard on that logo. It's pretty exciting. That keeps the 'wow' factor with the kids, I think," he quoted Schmid saying at a gun conference.
The company said the deadly weapon is for adults who want "to pass on this American tradition" to children.
"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," it said in an unsigned statement.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who was elected just before the Sandy Hook slaughter of 20 children and six adults, say those disclaimers are an ineffective ruse.
"It sounds like they're trying to create a veneer of respectability on top of a company that is morally corrupt at the center," Murphy told The New York Daily News.
"You cannot buy a firearm under 18. That's the law. And they are marketing guns to kids in the hopes that brothers or sisters might buy them, or the kids will lie about their age and buy something online," Murphy said. "They're very deliberately trying to do an end-around on the law, which is part of why we need the FTC."