Daniel Defense, the company that manufactured the rifle used by a gunman to kill 21 people inside a Texas elementary school this week, was one of hundreds of arms manufacturers and dealers who received emergency aid for the small businesses from the federal government through the Paycheck Protection Program.
The company, based in Ellabell, Georgia, received a $ 3.1 million loan in early April 2020, just days after the relief fund opened when many companies were struggling to get over a crush of apps how the pandemic started.
The loan, granted by Cadence Bank, was used to support around 200 employees, according to government records. Daniel Defense met the requirements of the loan amnesty program and was repaid by the government in June 2021.
A Daniel Defense rifle was used Tuesday in the attack on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, according to a state police briefing received by State Senator John Whitmire of Houston. Nineteen children and two adults were killed in the school and many more children were injured. The 18-year-old gunman also injured his grandmother before attacking the school.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic events in Texas this week,” the company wrote a statement posted on its website. “We will cooperate with all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in their investigations.”
Company representatives did not immediately answer questions about the Paycheck Protection Program loan. The Small Business Administration, which oversaw the program, declined to comment, citing the agency’s “spanning multiple previous administrations” policy of not commenting on individual borrowers.
Asked about the loan at Thursday’s White House press conference, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said it was the first time she’d heard of the loan and would look into the matter.
Virtually every small business in America – generally defined by the government as those with fewer than 500 employees – qualified for help through the Paycheck Protection Program, which required applicants to simply certify that the “economic uncertainty” caused by the pandemic made it need to ask for help from the government fund.
Daniel Defense is a privately held company, so it doesn’t publicly report its sales, but government data shows it produced far more weapons in 2020, after the pandemic took hold, compared to a year earlier. The company produced more than 51,000 firearms in 2020And less than 32,000 in 2019according to data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Nearly 500 arms and ammunition manufacturers and dealers have received federal support through the $ 800 billion relief program. The industry has collectively taken out loans totaling $ 125 million, according to a New York Times analysis of government data.
Twenty-three producers, including Daniel Defense, received loans of $ 1 million or more. The largest, for $ 10 million – the maximum loan available through the relief fund – went to RemArms, a Georgia company that acquired assets and a manufacturing facility from Remington after filing for bankruptcy.