Following news reports that an AR-15 style weapon was used in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was a Smith & Wesson M&P15 assault rifle, the Violence Policy Center released Understanding the Smith & Wesson M&P15 Semiautomatic Assault Rifle.
According to the backgrounder: "The Smith & Wesson M&P15 assault rifle demonstrates the clear and present danger of a gun designed for war and ruthlessly marketed for profit to civilians."
The same model assault rifle was also used in an attack that left 12 dead at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012, and in a mass shooting at a community center in San Bernardino, California, in 2015 that left 14 dead.
The VPC backgrounder (http://www.vpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/FloridashootingSmithWesson.pdf) details the history and profit motive behind Smith & Wesson’s introduction into the civilian market of its M&P15 semiautomatic assault rifles in 2006, as well as the company’s financial support of the National Rifle Association.
In May 2013, the company was honored by the NRA at its annual meeting for donating at least $1 million to the organization.
The briefing paper also explains the history, distinguishing features and lethal capabilities of assault rifles like the M&P15.
The backgrounder includes production data for the rifle, as well as quotes from Smith & Wesson’s (now known as American Outdoor Brands Corp.) filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.