Gun Safety Advocates Slam Gov. Kemp for Failing to Return Daniel Defense Contributions after Ignoring Parents’ Calls

July 27, 2022

As the CEO of Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the AR-15 used in the Uvalde school shooting, testifies before Congress today, gun safety advocates slammed Gov. Brian Kemp for failing to return the campaign cash he took from Daniel Defense and its CEO.

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action: “Gun violence is the number one cause of death for Georgia kids, and yet Gov. Kemp has ignored calls from parents to return $50,000 he’s taken from Daniel Defense, maker of the Uvalde AR-15 which markets guns to youth. It’s clear he doesn’t care about protecting children.”

March For Our Lives Georgia: “As the CEO of Daniel Defense (maker of the AR-15 used in Uvalde) testifies before Congress today, remember: Gov. Brian Kemp ignored parents’ calls to return over $50,000 in campaign contributions from Daniel Defense — which came just weeks before Kemp loosened Georgia gun laws.”

Congresswoman Lucy McBath: “Gov. Kemp ignored Georgia families calling to return $50,000+ he received from Daniel Defense, maker of the Uvalde AR-15 and gun marketer to children. Gun violence is the #1 cause of death for GA kids—Kemp needs to put kids first and return the money NOW.”

State Sen. Michelle Au: “Worth noting that Daniel Defense’s revenue from AR-15 style rifles TRIPLED in the last few years, from $40 million in 2019 to over $120 million. This CEO has donated over $50,000 to Gov. Kemp’s campaign. Kemp’s flagship piece of legislation this past session was SB 319, the permitless carry bill.”

State Sen. Elena Parent: “Daniel Defense manufactured the Uvalde shooter’s gun and markets their guns to youth. They also gave Gov. Kemp a $50,000 campaign contribution before he signed the Criminal Carry bill. The consequences will be predictably deadly.

State Rep. Sam Park: “Daniel Defense’s CEO is testifying before Congress today, they made the AR-15 used by the Uvalde shooter. Gov. Kemp took over $50,000 from the company before he weakened GA’s gun laws and ignored parents asking him to return the campaign cash. We deserve better.”

End Citizens United: “Brian Kemp accepted over $50,000 in donations from Daniel Defense, maker of the AR-15 used in Uvalde. If he cares about the public safety of Georgia’s kids he should return the donations now and stop allowing gun manufacturers to influence laws.”

Last month, Georgia parents called on Kemp to return over $50,000 he took from Daniel Defense and its CEO, including a single contribution of $25,000 to Kemp’s leadership committee less than a month before he weakened Georgia’s gun laws.

The governor ignored those calls, instead choosing to double down in defense of his criminal carry law that makes it easier for criminals to carry loaded, hidden guns in public. In June, Kemp gave a speech on school safety and failed to mention the issue of guns even once. Gov. Kemp has also ignored calls from his own lieutenant governor and Georgia GOP voters on the need to reform gun laws to increase public safety.


Vast opposition: Kemp’s “criminal carry” law is opposed by 70% of Georgiansand has drawn concerns from law enforcement officers and mayors across the state. Even a Second Amendment advocacy group worried it could have a detrimental impact on public safety, while members of Kemp’s own party are also backing away from Kemp’s extreme record on guns – from Republican voters to leaders like Kemp’s own Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan.

New loophole: “Criminal carry” created a new loophole by eliminating part of the background check process which anyone wanting to carry a concealed firearm currently must undergo. The change makes it easier for individuals with a criminal history who purchased a gun through a private sale – which is not subject to a background check – to carry a weapon in public. The existing permit process prevented over 5,200 applicants from obtaining firearm carry licenses in 2020 — the majority of those denials were due to prior criminal records, outstanding arrests, mental health flags, or domestic violence charges.

Rise in crime: States that have passed similar laws have seen increases in violent crime. Georgia already has the 17th highest rate of gun deaths in the nation and its rate of gun deaths increased 41% from 2011 to 2020. Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for kids and teens in the state.


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