Daniel Defence, the company that made the rifle a gunman used to kill 21 people at a Texas elementary school this week, was one of hundreds of arms makers and dealers who got help federal government emergency assistance for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program.
The Ellabell, Georgia-based company received a $3.1 million loan in early April 2020 — just days after the relief fund opened, when many businesses struggled to overcome a plethora of requests at the start of the pandemic.
The loan, granted by Cadence Bank, was used to support some 200 employees, according to government records. Daniel Defense met the program requirements to have his loan cancelled, and he was repaid by the government in June 2021.
A Daniel Defense rifle was used in the attack on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, according to a state police briefing received by State Sen. John Whitmire of Houston. Nineteen children and two adults were killed at the school and several other children were injured. The 18-year-old shooter also injured his grandmother before attacking the school.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic events in Texas this week,” the company wrote in a statement posted on its website. “We will cooperate with all federal, state and local law enforcement authorities in their investigations.”
Company representatives did not immediately respond to questions about the Paycheck Protection Program loan. The Small Business Administration, which oversaw the program, did not immediately respond to a message Thursday afternoon.
Virtually all small U.S. businesses — generally defined by the government as those with fewer than 500 workers — qualified for help through the Paycheck Protection Program, which simply required applicants to certify that “ the economic uncertainty” caused by the pandemic made it necessary for them to seek assistance from the government fund.
Nearly 500 firearms and ammunition manufacturers and retailers have received federal support under the $800 billion relief package. The industry has collectively taken out loans totaling $125 million, according to a New York Times analysis of government data.
Twenty-three manufacturers, including Daniel Defense, received loans of $1 million or more. The largest, in the amount of $10 million – the maximum loan available through the relief fund – went to RemArms, a Georgian company that acquired assets and a manufacturing plant from Remington after it filed for bankruptcy.