Hours after the Texas school massacre broke the internet, millions of heartbroken users sent their thoughts and prayers for the families of the young victims. Among them was Daniel Defense, an arms manufacturer that takes pride in building its own rifles and cold hammer forged barrels.
Expressing condolences to the victims in a pop-up statement on its official website, the manufacturer acknowledged the usage of its firearm by the 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos and vowed to cooperate with law enforcement authorities in further investigations.
As per NYT reports, with an aim to make the purchase of military gear as simple as possible, the gunmaker utilizes an online direct-to-consumer advertising model with a buy-now, pay-later scheme in partnership with Credova, that not only attracts young customers but also makes 'expensive weaponry more affordable.'
In the light of the same, some of its advertising tactics also feature popular video games like Call of Duty and Star Wars characters. It was through this strategy that video game enthusiast like Salvador Ramos managed to purchase the AR-15 style rifle directly from the gunmaker, less than week after his 18th birthday.
The gunmaker, in the last few years has attempted to expand beyond its 'mostly white' customer base and the company's CEO Marty Daniel often appeared to carelessly dismiss gun control proposals and the calls for a stricter regulation that gained strength after every mass shooting incident.
Famous for its aggressive marketing campaigns, a few of them have also landed the gunmaker in deep trouble. Some of their ads show children carrying and firing guns, some even featured Santa Claus in a military helmet holding a Daniel Defense rifle.
"Through this company, you are telling the story of how the gun industry has become increasingly radicalized," said Ryan Busse, a gun industry critic and former executive of Kimber Gun Manufacturing.
Senior Vice President of Everytown for Gun Safety, Nick Suplina also believes that companies like Daniel Defense have started 'glorifying' violence and war in their marketing strategy so as to capture the attention of more and more consumers.
An in-depth investigation has revealed that before the Texas school massacre, the firearms manufactured by Daniel Defense were previously utilized in the 2017 Las Vegas music festival shooting that killed 59 people, NYT reported.
Gun control activists have also started taking aim at Daniel Defense accusing the company of targeting youngsters to boost their sales. Their accusations were further solidified when the gunmaker was a no show at the NRA convention last week, the gun lobby's first meeting in three years.
In an effort to unearth the main cause of the gun violence and to prevent any loss of life in the future from firearms, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform has asked the gunmaker to provide information on their advertising costs in addition to the gross revenue they gain from assault rifle sales before their hearing on June 8, as per CNN reports.
Twitter users are infuriated over the change in Daniel Defense's account privacy status on Twitter to 'restricted', and are now calling the company 'cowards.' Several media outlets have reached out for official comments from the company or the CEO but as of now there has been no response.