This week, Jim Jordan and James Comer are hosting a joint hearing embarking on their latest partisan stunt. The individuals testifying in this hearing include a perennial GOP witness and owners of two fringe firearm businesses—all of whom have staked their careers on exposure to right-wing media, think tanks, and advocacy groups. There can be no doubt that these MAGA lawmakers care more about scoring points with their far-right base than actually dealing with gun violence. Instead of carefully selecting firearm experts to testify, the House GOP has enlisted yet another group of right-wing extremists to serve as witnesses.
Senior Legal Fellow, Heritage Foundation
Amy Swearer Is a Perennial GOP Witness. According to Swearer’s employer bio, she is “routinely asked” to testify as a Republican witness for state and federal hearings on firearms. Indeed, Swearer has been a perennial witness for Congressional Republicans for several years running: This will be her fourth appearance on Capitol Hill for a hearing in just five years. In 2022, she was called as a Republican witness for a House Oversight hearing on gun violence. In 2021, she similarly testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing on gun violence. In 2019, Swearer made her first appearance to testify on assault weapons during a House Judiciary hearing
- June 2022: Amy Swearer Was Accused of False Testimony During a Congressional Hearing. In June 2022, Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), accused Swearer of perjury during a House Oversight hearing on gun violence. The committee was initiating debate on reinstating an Assault Weapons Ban in order to curb gun violence, a policy that definitively prevented hundreds of deaths while it was in place from 1994–2004. When asked about the law, Swearer said, “You will see millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens become felons overnight for nothing more than having scary-looking features on firearms,” which Rep. Porter called out as falsely testifying under oath. The Heritage Foundation filed a complaint against Rep. Porter with the Office of Congressional Ethics for alleged defamation, but no action has been taken.
Amy Swearer Has Spent Her Career Working for Right-Wing Advocacy Groups and Think Tanks. Swearer has worked for the Heritage Foundation since 2017. Before that, she worked directly for the Koch Brothers after graduating from law school at the University of Nebraska. She has spoken at numerous events hosted by the arch-conservative Federalist Society. In the past year alone, she was the featured speaker at events opposing common sense gun reform policies like red flag laws.
- The Heritage Foundation Shaped The Trump Administration and Spreads Right-Wing Grievances. The Heritage Foundation was deeply influential in the Trump administration, helping select his staffers and even members of his cabinet, including former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose department oversaw the ATF. The organization has worked to legitimize right-wing grievances about climate change, so-called voter fraud in the 2020 election and beyond, critical race theory, and more. Heritage has also helped develop state-level bills barring trans and non-binary athletes from participating in high school sports.
Founder and Inventor, Stabilizing Brace
Alex Bosco Is The Inventor Of A Stabilizing Device That Transforms A Pistol Into A Portable Assault Weapon. Alex Bosco invented a device known as a stabilizing brace that effectively transforms a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, which are meant to be heavily regulated under the National Firearms Act. Bosco maintains that the device is necessary to assist disabled shooters, but similar devices marketed as “stabilizing braces” have also been used to turn pistols into illegal short-barreled rifles and enable easy, accurate, and rapid fire that makes the gun significantly more deadly. Mass shooters in Dayton and Boulder have used these devices to increase their accuracy and lethality. The ATF is now seeking to regulate these bracing devices and subject them to additional regulations, including higher taxes, longer waiting periods and registration, but is facing resistance from a group of 25 GOP attorneys general, and far right gun groups. Bosco has pursued his dispute with the ATF in a variety of far right outlets, including Sebastian Gorka’s podcast and numerous gun enthusiast programs.
Partner, Zermay-Larosiere Law Group
Matthew Larosiere Runs An Opaque Firearms Company Marketing Arms Components As “Wind Chimes.” Larosiere currently works as lawyer for a personal injury law firm and runs a Florida-based arms company Manufacture d’Armes et Carillons de Floride (MAF Corp.). MAF Corp. primarily sells firearm components, though the company refers to their components as “wind chimes” and markets itself as a French company. Despite listing products as “chimes,” each item is labeled with a mandatory warning: “While MAF does not sell firearms, this kit contains some dept. of commerce EAR/former ITAR-regulated components. As such we can not ship this item outside of the United States, and by ordering, you certify that you WILL NOT export the item.” The company has even released a “Magic ATF Ball” product mocking the agency’s regulatory process.
Matthew Larosiere Has Spent Years Working With Right-Wing Groups. Larosiere worked for the right-leaning Cato Institute for nearly four years before joining the Nevada-based Firearms Policy Coalition, a partisan nonprofit affiliated with the Firearms Policy Foundation until late 2022. The coalition runs an extensive political operation supporting bills and lawsuits—almost exclusively backed by Republicans—related to firearm regulations and gun safety laws. This year alone, the coalition is responsible for overturning Texas age limits for purchasing handguns and forcing Tennessee to settle a lawsuit over age limits for firearm purchases, while temporarily blocking enforcement of Illinois’ assault weapons ban and New Jersey’s efforts to make crowded public spaces gun-free zones. They are also currently suing to overturn California’s assault weapons ban.
Matthew Larosiere Is a Regular Right-Wing Media Contributor. Larosiere works closely with the arch-conservative Federalist Society. He was a featured speaker for at least two events with the organization. According to his Federalist Society biography, Larosiere’s work “has been featured in National Review, Cato Blog, Fox Nation, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and more.” His editorials focus on a host of right-wing talking points about gun violence, ranging from opposition to common sense gun policies like red flag laws to promoting 3D-printed firearms.