On a Memorial Day weekend, when we honor those who have died in the service of our country, the company that made a weapon of war used to kill 19 children and two adults at a Texas elementary school had planned to sell its wares at the annual Gun Industry Collective. disgrace.
But in the wake of Tuesday’s massacre at Uvalde, Daniel Defense is no longer expected to join all the other violent death profiteers at this weekend’s NRA convention in Houston.
Until Wednesday afternoon, the company was scheduled to occupy booth 4839, conveniently located near the cafe at the George R. Brown Convention Center, amid what the NRA calls “14 acres of weapons and equipment.”
“GIVEAWAYS, DEMOS, CELEBRITY APPEARANCES AND MORE!” Daniel Défense had promised it online.
Exhibits would have included the DDM4 V7 rifle, the model used to such gruesome effect at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
“A perfect rifle for everyone,” says a promotional video from Daniel Defense.
The exhibitor list indicates that booth 4839 has been taken over by the NRA itself. Offerings there will now include “membership programs and services, commission-based dealer programs, manufacturer programs, legislative and awareness initiatives, firearms training programs, education and Security, NRA Advancement, The Foundation, Friends of the NRA, and NRA Publications”.
Daniel Defense can still enjoy Tuesday’s horror. The company reported that the 2012 massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut boosted sales to people fearing an assault weapons ban.
The company, now worth $100 million a year, was founded by 59-year-old Georgian Marty Daniel. He started making garage doors after failing Georgia Southern University twice before finally graduating. A company story on his website suggests he might not have used the guns had he been a better golfer.
“Daniel Defense started because Marty’s golf game sucked. He spent most of his free time relaxing on the golf course, until one day a friend invited him to shoot his AR,” the story goes. “Every shot he fired filled him with a satisfaction he had never felt before. Marty would buy his first AR that same year.
It was 1999. He made his first gun a decade later. It was the DDM4 V1. The M4 indicates a kinship with the military M4 that Colt produced for the United States Armed Forces. Daniel joined Bushmaster and Smith & Wesson and other companies to sell variants of a weapon of war to civilians.
“FREEDOM. PASSION. PRECISION,” reads its advertising mantra.
He quickly did well enough to film a commercial he hoped to air during the 2014 Super Bowl. It featured a fictional former Marine at home with his wife, looking at their baby.
“My family’s safety is my highest priority,” says a narrator. “I am responsible for their protection and no one has the right to tell me how to defend them. So I chose the most efficient tool for the job… Daniel Defense.”
The NFL deemed the ad inappropriate and it never aired. Daniel Defense went on to create other variations and was uncensored when he tweeted a photo in which a youngster cradles a semi-automatic rifle while sitting on a carpeted floor.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he’s old he won’t stray from it,” the caption read.
The tweet was posted on May 16, Salvador Ramos’ 18th birthday. He was still three years too young to buy a beer in Texas, but old enough to buy two AR-15 style assault rifles within two days. With 375 rounds of 5.56 ammunition. One of the weapons was a DDM4 V7.
A receipt for the online purchase posted to an Instagram account associated with Ramos says the price was $1,870, plus $154.28 in sales tax, for a total of $2,024.28. Ramos also posted a picture of his two rifles.
“My gun pictures,” he wrote in a post to a young woman he met online.
He might as well have said “dick pic”. You don’t need a psychiatrist to guess the appeal these weapons have for woefully insecure young men who yearn to be instant alpha.
Ramos left the other rifle in his grandmother’s van when he drove to school late Tuesday morning. The DDM4 V7 was his weapon of choice when he burst inside to start shooting kids.
The local school district has instituted many safety protocols and has its own police department. One of his officers confronted Ramos and two cops from Uvalde responded soon after.
But all this was not an immediately effective defense against the Daniel Defense product. The weapon’s firepower allowed Ramos to kill 21 people, including a teacher who was married to one of the school district cops. Ramos had at least seven magazines of 30 rounds each and he kept firing until he was killed by a heroic US Border Patrol agent.
Of course, the massacre of 19 youths was not going to deter the NRA from continuing with its convention. Former President Trump and Texas Governor Greg Abbott said they would still address the rally.
Anyone who called Daniel Defense’s main number on Wednesday received a message saying no one was available and to call back. Marty Daniel could not be reached. Daniel Defense’s Twitter account was limited to approved followers, and a request for approval from this reporter was left “pending.”
But in the early evening, the company responded to a message left with the owner’s wife, Cindy Daniel.
“Sad day for sure,” spokesman Steve Reed said.
Shortly after, a statement from the company arrived via email.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic events in Texas this week. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and community devastated by this diabolical act. As stated during Governor Abbott’s press conference, we understand that the firearm used in the attack was manufactured by Daniel Defense We will cooperate with all federal, state and local law enforcement authorities in their investigations We will keep the families of the victims and the entire community of Uvalde safe in our thoughts and prayers.
Reed did not respond to a question about the company and the NRA convention. But a check of the list showed that Daniel Defense will no longer have an official presence when the exhibition hall opens on Friday. With or without stand 4839, Daniel Defense will remain one of the largest profitable suppliers of semi-automatic rifles. Its website says it has the DDMP4 V7 in stock.
And the families of Uvalde are preparing to bury 19 murdered children.