January 26, 2023

Duckworth, Durbin Join Colleagues in Calling On FTC to Investigate Continued Marketing To Kids of The JR-15 Rifle By Wee 1 Tactical

Illinois-based company Wee 1 Tactical has featured marketing materials with cartoons of skulls with pacifiers and said that the rifle “looks, feels, and operates just like Mom and Dad’s gun”


 [WASHINGTON, D.C.]—U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), along with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Alex Padilla (D-CA), to call on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the continued marketing to children of the “JR-15” rifle by Illinois-based company Wee 1 Tactical.  While children under age 18 cannot buy firearms themselves under federal law, the JR-15 is marketed to appeal to children to help familiarize them with this type of tactical weapon.  When the gun was initially released by Wee 1 Tactical, its marketing materials featured cartoons of skulls with pacifiers and said that the rifle “looks, feels, and operates just like Mom and Dad’s gun.”

During today’s press conference, the Senators argued that these marketing tactics are dangerous and irresponsible, especially as the gun violence epidemic continues to devastate communities and as military-style assault weapons are all too often used in mass shootings.

“I spent 23 years in the military, so I know firsthand how weapons like these are uniquely crafted for the battlefield—how they are built to rip apart enemy combatants so they cannot get back up on the field of combat,” Duckworth said. “Yet those weapons of war are remarkably similar to the kind of rifle that Wee 1 Tactical is trying to seduce our kids into coveting. We cannot and must not allow this to go on another day—the FTC must begin investigating immediately. Because every minute that we let parasitic companies like this one try to trick our babies into buying lethal weapons, we risk witnessing another classroom turning into a massacre.”

“Companies like Wee 1 Tactical, which I’m sorry to say is based in Illinois, are trying to get kids to use weapons that look like military-style rifles.  They want more Americans to use these weapons, and they’re trying to hook them when they’re young with the JR-15.  It’s straight out of the tobacco companies’ playbook.  This kind of marketing is reckless.  It’s dangerous.  And it needs to stop,” said Durbin.  “I join my colleagues in urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate this marketing.  And the Senate Judiciary Committee will examine ways to hold these reckless companies accountable.”

Video of today’s press conference is available here.

Photos of today’s press conference are available here.

Duckworth and Durbin are cosponsors of the Assault Weapons Ban, legislation that would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and other high-capacity ammunition feeding devices.   They are also cosponsors of the Age 21 Act, which would raise the minimum age to purchase assault weapons from 18 to 21, the same requirement that currently exists in law for handguns.