Ruger profits by selling murder weapons in Israel, and the U.S.

A new campaign – NO RUGER GUNS TO ISRAEL – is being launched March 30 to pressure Sturm Ruger & Co. and the communities where the company operates to stop selling these killer weapons to Israel’s security forces.

The Firearms maker Ruger is getting some unwelcome publicity these days. One of its semi-automatic AR-556 assault guns was used to massacre 10 innocent people in Boulder, Colorado, last week, prompting renewed calls for banning militarized weapons in the US.

But Ruger has also been profiting for a long time from sales of its killer 10/22 sniper rifles to Israel. Israel uses the deadly Ruger rifles for what it calls “crowd-control.”

Crowd control, Israeli-style, using Ruger weapons.

Israel claims that the Ruger 10/22 rifles, equipped with silencers and telescopic sights, are “less-lethal” weapons because of their small caliber. But in fact these are live-fire guns which have killed numerous Palestinians over the years. Recently, that includes hundreds of unarmed protesters killed or wounded in the blockaded Gaza strip and others in the occupied West Bank. Many Palestinian young men have been permanently disabled by the deployment of IDF snipers who used the Ruger rifles to intentionally target protest leaders or activists, especially in the legs.

Ruger was also in the news late last year when, on December 4, 2020, a Palestinian boy, Ali Abu Alia, was shot and killed by Israeli security forces using the Ruger 10/22 as he watched a protest in his West Bank village of al-Mughayer. Unarmed villagers were demonstrating against the confiscation of their farmlands to benefit nearby illegal Israeli settlements. It was Ali’s 15th birthday.

Israel began to import small caliber sniper rifles for “riot control” during the First Intifada. The intention was to deploy weapons that would be less lethal than its standard issue 5.56 mm US-Israeli M16 assault rifle, but with more potent firepower than rubber-coated metal bullets (which have also killed). The IDF settled on the Ruger 10/22, which fired a relatively small, but high velocity 0.22 caliber rimfire cartridge that could be used “to take out key protest leaders by shooting them in the legs.” The Israeli version was fitted with a sniper scope and, presumably to amplify its terror effect, with a fully suppressed – or “silenced” in popular usage – barrel, which could wound or kill at a distance with no loud report to indicate the shot’s origin. As one advertiser of this weapon boasted, the only noise you will hear is the firing pin hitting and then, “the ‘smack’ on the target.”

Israeli soldier sighting a Ruger rifle.

Sturm, Ruger & Co. claims that it has no control over the destination or use of its products abroad, but it maintains a distribution dealership in Israel. At the same time, the company boasts about its corporate ethics:

Ruger has been a model of corporate and community responsibility. Our motto, “Arms Makers for Responsible Citizens®,” echoes our commitment to these principles… the Company will continue to be run in a highly ethical manner, which best serves the interests of our shareholders, our employees, and of course, our loyal customers.

But the company also advertises its pride in the Israeli use of its rifles. The Sturm, Ruger Co. boasts that its rifle was chosen by the IDF, even going as far as to reprint an enthusiastic article that originally appeared on isayeret.com, the web site of the Israeli Special Forces.

Perhaps they should hear from people who wonder whether supplying lethal weapons for use against unarmed protesters is an example of corporate responsibility. Ruger’s corporate headquarters are in Southport, Connecticut. It manufactures the 10/22 rifles at its Newport, New Hampshire facility.

We should demand the immediate halt of sales to the Israeli military of murder weapons like the Ruger 10/22.

US military aid to Israel at $3.8 billion or more per year – cumulatively now in the hundreds of billions of dollars – has enabled the purchase of advanced weapons that have killed thousands of Palestinians, especially during repeated attacks on Gaza — as well as like numbers of Lebanese, Egyptians, Jordanians and now Syrians.

It’s time to reconsider unconditional US military aid to Israel. Israel’s use of such weaponry is already in violation of US arms-export laws which restrict the use of military aid to proven human-rights violators and limit deployment of US weapons to legitimate self-defense. Bills were filed in the last Congress to condition US military aid to Israel and hold it accountable. should be supported when they are refiled.

But US-supplied weapons like the Ruger 10/22 have also enabled the murder of innocent Palestinians up-close. We shouldn’t have to wait for passage of new legislation. A start would be to insist on the enforcement of already-existing US laws concerning the use of military aid and US weaponry abroad.

You can join our virtual campaign rollout on March 30 at 8pm and learn more at https://norugers2israel.org/

TELL RUGER: STOP SELLING MURDER WEAPONS IN ISRAEL – AND IN THE US!

You can find Ruger’s addresses at our website here.

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