The maker of a gun used in the Texas shooting has a history of controversial gun ads

“We understand that the firearm used in the attack was manufactured by Daniel Defense,” the website said. “We will cooperate with all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in their investigations.”

Days before the shooting, the Georgia-based company tweeted a challenging image of a toddler with an assault weapon with the caption: “Teach a child the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

The company, founded by Marty Daniel, is now under the magnifying glass of politicians and activists seeking to change gun laws so civilians don’t have easy access to military-grade weapons.

The U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee is asking Daniel Defense to provide information such as how much they spend on advertising, their gross revenue from the sale of assault rifles and other items ahead of their June 8 hearing that “the root cause will investigate gun violence and evaluate measures to prevent further loss of life from firearms.”
Daniel Defense has since deleted the toddler tweet — which used language from Proverbs 22:6 in the Bible — but since its founding in 2000, the company has made headlines countless times about how it advertises its guns to consumers.
Salvador Ramos, the man who carried out the shooting in Uvalde, was one such consumer. Investigators found one of the suspect’s AR15-style rifles, manufactured by Daniel Defense, in the school, according to Texas State Senator John Whitmire, who was briefed by law enforcement officers.

CNN has contacted Daniel Defense for comment, but has not heard back.

Daniel Defense takes pride in building his own parts

Marty Daniel started his company after being “bitten by the shooting bug,” according to a timeline of the company’s history.

After graduating from Georgia Southern University with a degree in electrical engineering, Daniel opened an overhead door and fireplace business. His firearms business started because a friend invited him to shoot his AR, the site says.

“Every shot he fired filled him with a satisfaction he had never experienced before,” the website says.

In the more than 20 years since its founding, Daniel Defense has marketed itself as a company that prides itself on making “almost every part it sells,” according to the website.

On its “corporate values” page, the company said that building their own parts “sets us apart from many industry players who basically assemble rather than build their products.”

“We love building great weapons,” said Marty Daniel in a 2019 ad.

NFL Wouldn’t Allow Daniel Defense Ad During Super Bowl

The NFL refused to allow an ad from Daniel Defense during Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 because it promoted guns. The ad was aimed at a man coming home to his wife and baby.

“I am responsible for their protection, and no one has the right to tell me how to defend them,” the man said in the ad in a voiceover. “So I chose the most effective tool for the job,” the ad ends with Daniel Defense’s logo.

Trump, other Republicans reject gun reforms at NRA convention showing split of country

Though it never aired during the Super Bowl, Marty Daniel turned the rejection into an avalanche of attention.

“The majority of Super Bowl fans have the same values ​​that we have at Daniel Defense, which is that we believe in protecting our families,” Daniel told Fox News at the time.

Gun control activists claim the company is targeting younger customers with nods to pop culture and video game icons. At the same time, Daniel seems to be focusing his comments on older Americans and gun control.

“The anti-Second Amendment mob is just looking for an excuse to ban guns in any way,” Daniel told OutdoorHub in 2016.

But the company has withdrawn from the spotlight after the Uvalde shooting.

Daniel Defense did not attend the National Rifle Association convention last week. It was the first annual gun lobby meeting in three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Daniel Defense is not attending the NRA meeting because of the horrific tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, where one of our products was criminally abused,” Steve Reed, the company’s vice president of marketing, said in a statement. “We don’t think this week is the right time to promote our products in Texas at the NRA meeting.”

The company’s display was replaced with a popcorn cart and baked potato stall.

David Goldman of CNN contributed to this report.

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