Georgia gun maker Daniel Defense has withdrawn from the NRA Annual Meeting that kicks off in Houston, Texas tomorrow after investigators revealed that the rifle used by the 18-year old murderer in his attack on a classroom at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas came from the company.
The company also posted a statement on its website promising to cooperate with all law enforcement investigations into the attack.
We are deeply saddened by the tragic events in Texas this week. 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. 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 Uvalde community in our thoughts and prayers
There’s no sign that the 18-year old who purchased the rifle (who isn’t being named by Bearing Arms) was ineligible to do so, but at Newsweek points out, that probably won’t stop lawsuits from being filed seeking to hold the company responsible for the horrific attack.
Earlier this year, the families of nine Sandy Hook victims settled a lawsuit for $73 million against Remington in what is the largest payout by a gun manufacturer in a mass shooting case.
The families argued that Remington promoted sales of the weapon used in the massacre with marketing materials targeted at troubled young men. The payout suggests that Daniel Defense’s promotional materials could also be under scrutiny despite the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that largely shields manufacturers from liability.
A lawsuit is very likely, though there’s no guarantee that a judge in Texas is going to agree with the Connecticut State Supreme Court’s decision that a company’s marketing materials could be used as a basis for a lawsuit without coming into conflict with the PLCAA. Any suit that is filed will take years to wind its way through the court system (if it’s even allowed to proceed) as well.
Will Daniel Defense be the only gun maker to make a last minute decision to cancel its appearance at the NRA meetings? I took a look at the current list of exhibitors and there the only notable name I didn’t see listed was SIG Sauer, though I don’t think they had planned on exhibiting this year to begin with (the company also decided not to participate in this year’s SHOT Show). It’s possible that other companies drop out, but when I spent a few minutes inside the convention center earlier today picking up my press credentials I didn’t notice any flurry of activity from exhibitors pulling out from the convention hall floor. It was actually pretty quiet, as were the streets outside the convention center.
It’ll be a far different story tomorrow when progressive groups from Black Lives Matter Houston to Moms Demand Action protest the NRA at the park directly across from the convention center itself. Another protest was scheduled outside of Houston City Hall on Wednesday afternoon to “demand” that Houston Mayor Sylvester Johnson cancel the NRA meeting.
Turner has said the city can’t cancel the contract with the NRA, but had “urged” the group to delay the convention by a couple of weeks instead. Turner also took to social media to give Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke a round of applause for crashing the community briefing in Uvalde on Wednesday.
2019: #txlege raised the age for individuals to purchase tobacco to 21
2021: the age to purchase firearms lowered to 18
— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) May 26, 2022
Sylvester may not be able to cancel the NRA meeting, but he can still join in the protests tomorrow, as the Harris County Democratic Party has already decided to do. We’ll have reports from on the ground and inside the convention center starting tomorrow morning here at Bearing Arms, on what promises to be a very eventful day for both the tens of thousands of NRA members in town for the Annual Meetings, and the yet-to-be determined number of protesters determined to “shut down” the gathering on its opening day.