CEO of Georgia-based gun manufacturer asked to testify to Congress

The chief executive of a Georgia gun manufacturer has been asked to testify before a U.S. House committee investigating the industry’s role in recent mass shootings.

The House Oversight Committee sent a letter to Daniel Defense leader Marty Daniel asking him to attend its July 20 meeting. A weapon sold by his company was used during the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers in May.

“Just this Monday, as Americans celebrated our nation’s Independence Day, a shooter used an AR-15-style rifle to kill at least seven people and wound dozens of others during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois,” said the letter from Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat. “Products sold by your company have been used for decades to carry out homicides and even mass murders, yet your company has continued to market assault weapons to civilians.”

Daniel Defense did not immediately respond to an inquiry about whether its CEO would accept the invitation or if the company had any other reaction to the letter. Maloney sent similar invitations to the chief executives at two other gun manufacturers: Smith & Wesson Brands and Sturm, Ruger & Co.

Daniel Defense is based in Black Creek in southeast Georgia. In addition to the Texas shooting, weapons made by the company were also found in the cache left behind by the man who carried out a 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, the worst in modern U.S. history.

Daniel and his family-owned company rarely speak publicly about mass shootings; the company put out general statements of condolences after the incidents in Uvalde and Las Vegas.

Shortly after Uvalde and another deadly incident at a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store that left 10 dead, the Oversight Committee began investigating gun manufacturers. It asked Daniel Defense and other to supply information about sales and marketing of semiautomatic rifles that were used in these incidents and others.

Maloney’s recent letter says the responses led to more questions.

“The information that you provided has heightened the Committee’s concern that your company is continuing to profit from the sale and marketing of weapons of war to civilians despite the harm these weapons cause, is failing to track instances or patterns where your products are used in crimes, and is failing to take other reasonable precautions to limit injuries and deaths caused by your firearms,” she wrote.

President Joe Biden last month signed into law new gun safety measures passed by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, although most Republicans — including all eight GOP members from Georgia — were opposed.

But in light of continued violence, including the shooting in Highland Park, Ill., that left seven dead, many Democrats want more. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pledged to bring an assault weapon ban to the floor, and some members have also advocated for new regulations that allow gun manufacturers to be held more accountable.

Efforts to pass more restrictive gun laws are likely to be blocked by Senate Republicans through the use of the filibuster.

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, a Marietta Democrat and gun control activist, said she plans to attend a White House event celebrating the signing of the bipartisan gun bill. However, she is among those calling for additional action.

“We must give the American people more tools to combat gun violence and prevent these tragedies,” she said in a statement this week. “When I return to Washington next week to attend the signing ceremony for the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, I will carry with me the memories of the Highland Park victims, understanding that we must continue to fight for a future free from gun violence.”