A Georgia-based gun manufacturer has canceled a scheduled appearance at the National Rifle Association conference after backlash for what some call “incendiary marketing,” forcing the Georgia-based Daniel Defense to drop out of the gun rights lobby’s annual event and lock the company’s Twitter account.
Eight days before the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde Texas on Tuesday, the firearm company posted an ad on social media that featured a toddler holding an assault weapon with the caption: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
In the week preceding the deadly shooting, Daniel Defense would promote via social media the same gun used by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, posting on May 20th a modified version of their top-selling DDM4 V7 on Facebook and Instagram:
Four days later, mere hours before the elementary school slaughter, Daniel Defense tweeted an almost identical version of Ramos’ DDM4 rifle, one that the company has praised as being “a perfect rifle for everybody.” Nick Sulplina, a former advisor to the New York State Attorney General took to Twitter to point out the company’s marketing efforts.
The Uvalde shooter bought a Daniel Defense DDM4V7 rifle and reportedly wore a plate carrier — just like Daniel Defense advertised hours before the shooting: pic.twitter.com/nlwaEicH3n
— nick suplina (@nicksuplina) May 25, 2022
According to NBC News, in the days preceding the 2016 election, Marty Daniel – founder of Daniel Defense – was added to Donald Trump Jr.’s Second Amendment Coalition. Junior’s twice-impeached father would create a “task force” that included NRA members.
Daniel Defense raked in $73 million in 2016, and Daniel himself has admitted that mass shootings are “good for business.” The DDM4 V7 rifle used in the Uvalde murders can cost nearly $2000, and pricier firearms upwards of $3000. Nick Penzenstadler at USA Today, shared an excerpt from an interview Daniel had with Forbes magazine:
Illuminating exchange with Daniel Defense CEO Marty Daniel after Sandy Hook via Forbes. Fear of gun control drives sales, and it will again. pic.twitter.com/hCv1M3eQ0g
— Nick Penzenstadler (@npenzenstadler) May 25, 2022
Daniel has lobbied against any gun regulations – common sense, or otherwise — despite the murderous toll of his products. He has told the far-right-wing media outlet, Breitbart, that “second amendment rights come from God, not the government.”
Daniel went on a step further in an interview with Breitbart host and columnist AWR Hawkins:
“We are in business, we believe, to be a supporter of the gospel. And, therefore, a supporter of the Second Amendment. In other words, not only do we have these Second Amendment rights because God gives them to us but also the gospel.”
Daniel Defense’s Facebook tagline is “Faith, Family, Firearms.” In that order.
The Uvalde shooting isn’t the first massacre occurring using Daniel Defense assault weapons. In Oct. 2017, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock would use the weaponry in an 11-minute shooting spree from his hotel room window into a country music festival in Las Vegas that ended with 58 dead, and over 800 injured.
Daniel may not be attending the NRA Convention, in Houston, Texas on Friday, but his withdrawal from the event is not enough. The event should be canceled altogether out of respect for those lives senselessly lost this week and those who will undoubtedly lose theirs in the future if something isn’t done. Texas is home to increased gun violence and mass shootings, and, according to Fox26 Houston, in the first three weeks of 2022, Houston led the nation in homicides. With 38 murders by January 23rd, Houston experienced more homicides than Los Angeles (26), NYC (20), and Chicago (36).
It’s time for Greg Abbott and the Texas GOP to stop working for the gun lobby and start fighting for their constituents.
Original reporting by Rich Schapiro at NBC News.