Owners of Daniel Defense, maker of the gun in Texas school shooting, are big GOP donors

May 27, 2022, 8:16 PM UTC

The National Rifle Association isn’t the only group lobbying for Republicans in Congress to shoot down new gun laws. The owners of Daniel Defense, which made the rifle used in the Uvalde school shooting this week, gave more than $90,000 to conservative PACs and Republicans at the federal level during the current election cycle.

Marvin Daniel and his wife Cindy have contributed more $70,000 to GOP candidates at the federal level this cycle, including Republican Senate incumbents Tim Scott (S.C.), John N. Kennedy (La.), and Joni Ernst (Iowa), along with challengers Herschel Walker, who is running in North Carolina, and Eric Schmitt, who is running in Missouri, according to recent FEC filings and first reported by The Washington Post.  

The Daniels also recently gave $20,000 to the National Shooting Sports Foundation PAC, which supports a slew of Republican legislators in the House and Senate, FEC filings show

Last year, Daniel Defense gave $100,000 to a PAC supporting Republican Senate candidates in Georgia, where the company is based, during the runoff election, The Washington Post reported

The Daniels’ giving is part of a huge lobbying push in recent years by gun rights supporters across the country. In 2021, gun rights lobbying spending was the highest it’s ever been, according to an OpenSecrets report. At $15.8 million, gun rights groups outspent gun control lobbyists by more than five times last year, a trend that has continued in 2022, Fortune reported

On Tuesday, a gunman used an automatic rifle manufactured by Daniel Defense to kill 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tex. Following the shooting on Tuesday, the company issued a statement decrying the massacre as “evil.” 

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic events in Texas this week,” the company said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and community devastated by this evil act…As reported in Governor Abbott’s press conference, it is our understanding that the firearm used in the attack was manufactured by Daniel Defense.” 

The company was also slated to showcase its products at this weekend’s NRA convention in Houston, just hours from Uvalde. On Friday, company representatives announced they would not attend the convention. 

“Daniel Defense is not attending the NRA meeting due to the horrifying tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, where one of our products was criminally misused,” said Steve Reed, vice president of marketing for Daniel Defense, in a statement reported by CNN. “We believe this week is not the appropriate time to be promoting our products in Texas at the NRA meeting.”

Daniel Defense did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment. 

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