Press Releases

Gun makers received over $156M in PPP loans despite booming sales in 2020

Washington–Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and a group of his colleagues in calling on the Department of Justice to examine potential falsified Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications made by companies in the firearm industry. Despite gun makers claiming record demand and rising sales, the industry received over $156 million in PPP funds from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

In the CARES Act, passed last year, Congress appropriated over $525 million in PPP to help businesses weather the economic storm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA administered over five million PPP loans in 2020.

“Congress authorized and funded the PPP to help struggling small and medium sized businesses stay afloat during the pandemic. While many local businesses in our states received PPP assistance, the program ran out of funds in 2020, and some businesses were not able to receive a PPP loan in the first tranche of funding,” the senators wrote in a letter to Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton. “Despite the great need for access to PPP funding, we are concerned that certain small businesses were shut out of the program, while firearms companies reaped millions based on false representations.”

The lawmakers asked the Civil Division of the DOJ, the department responsible for prosecuting fraud perpetrated against the U.S. government, to review the certification of the PPP loans to the firearm industry and determine whether an investigation of the firearm industry is warranted under the False Claims Act.

In addition to Feinstein and Menendez, the letter was also signed by Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

A copy of the letter can be found here.