An American gun manufacturer has come under fire for creating a rifle designed and marketed for children and inspired by the lethal semi-automatic AR-15.
A gun-making company in Illinois created a child-sized assault rifle called JR-15 which is similar to the adult AR-15.
The weapon intended to be sold to children is 20% smaller than the AR-15 with it weighing 2.3 pounds and being sold for $389 (£291).
In a statement last November, The Illinois manufacturer WEE1 Tactical said: "The JR-15 is the first in a line of shooting platforms that will safely help adults introduce children to the shooting sports."
They added that the smaller sized militant rifle "operates just like Mom and Dad's gun".
The JR-15 was reportedly launched earlier this month at an annual trade show sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Following the launch, the manufacturing company and its associates have received backlash by anti-gun and protection groups that have referenced the country's mass school shootings.
A chairwoman of the Newtown Action Alliance said in a statement: "The callousness of the National Shooting Sports Foundation to promote a children's version of the same type of assault rifle, that was used in a horrific mass shooting of 20 first graders and six educators in our shared community is just the latest proof that the organisation.
"The gun manufacturers it represents, will do anything in pursuit of continued profits."
The statement referred to a school shooting tragedy in 2012 which saw an attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut where 20 students and six teachers were killed.
Newton Action Alliance is a gun violence prevention organisation and highlighted that AR-15 have been used in some of the US's most lethal mass shootings.
Kathleen Sances, president of One Aim Illinois says the marketing of assault rifles not only brings shame to the state but has the potential to "increase the threat of gun death and injury to children here and across the nation".
According to the Gun Violence Archive America saw 44,868 gun deaths in 2021, a 32 per cent spike in gun violence.
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