WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new analysis from government watchdog Accountable.US found that weapons manufacturers secured up to $164 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds despite a spike in gun sales during the pandemic. These gun companies received taxpayer-funded relief meant for struggling small businesses following an aggressive lobbying effort from the industry on the CARES Act. Nineteen Senators wrote a letter to the Treasury Department to ensure gun companies would be included in the disbursement of PPP funds – including 15 lawmakers who have received contributions from the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s PAC.
For the thousands of small businesses in communities of color that couldn’t access a single dollar in PPP relief, the fact that guns makers secured millions in taxpayer-backed loans despite booming pandemic sales is likely disturbing. This situation was created by an administration that doesn’t care whether help gets to anyone but the wealthy and well-connected. Congress must ensure any new small businesses aid is distributed fairly, and aimed at those who actually need it.”
said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US
KEY FINDINGS FROM THE ANALYSIS:
- The gun industry received between $70 and $164 million from the SBA PPP program. Major gun manufacturers Brownells and Kimber received over $5 million each. This for an industry that did not suffer a significant COVID-related slowdown. In fact, the Brookings Institution found gun sales spiked throughout the second quarter of 2020.
- Ammo, Inc., a “technology-driven ammunition” company received approximately $1 million from the PPP across its subsidiaries despite an increase in quarterly revenue from the previous year. Ammo’s specialty ammunition included their “Night OPS” series of hollow point bullets, advertised as inflicting “mass force trauma” on soft tissue.
- Applied Energetics, working in photonics and energetics for the purposes of national defense, received $132,760 in funding from the PPP. Applied Energetics’ has a history of benefitting from no- bid government contracts in Afghanistan, including a program focused on IED protection described as a “costly boondoggle” by the Center for Public Integrity.
WHAT NOW: To create a more equitable and effective program helping small businesses in the future, the next relief package Congress passes must include relief for the businesses that need it most, stronger transparency measures on loans distributed, and additional clarity on loans already given out.