Manufacturer of rifle used by Uvalde shooter posted photo of child holding gun days before attack

·2 min read

The manufacturer of the semi-automatic rifle an 18-year-old gunman used in a deadly school shooting in Texas on Tuesday posted a photograph days before the tragedy of a child holding a rifle.

Daniel Defense, which manufactured the DDM4 V7 rifle used in the mass shooting that left 19 children and two adults dead in Uvalde, tweeted a photo on May 16 of a little boy sitting on the floor holding in his hands a rifle of a similar model to that used by the Texas gunman.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” a cutline reads above the photo.

The tweet, an apparent reference to a Bible verse, ended with a prayer emoji.

Georgia-based Daniel Defense has since made its account private, but The Hill was able to verify the tweet on an internet archive site.

The Hill has reached out to the company for comment.

The Texas Tribune reported that the gunman bought the DDM4 V7 rifle and a second, similar firearm just days before the shooting from a licensed gun store. He also purchased 375 rounds of 5.56-caliber ammunition. The gunman only brought the DDM4 rifle with him after he crashed his truck and walked into Robb Elementary School, according to the outlet.

Daniel Defense released a statement on its website saying it was “deeply saddened by the tragic events in Texas” and said it would cooperate with any investigations into the incident.

“It is our understanding that the firearm used in the attack was manufactured by Daniel Defense,” the company said. “We will keep the families of the victims and the entire Uvalde community in our thoughts and our prayers.”

Social media ignited in criticism of Daniel Defense after photos of the post of the child with the firearm circulated. The company was criticized as marketing lethal products to youth and many of its tweets and social media posts are also under the spotlight for what critics say is aggressive marketing of firearms and weapons.

Daniel Defense told Fox News it will not attend the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual convention in Houston, Texas, this week as planned, because of the shooting where its weapon was “criminally misused.”

The DDM4 V7 is a semi-automatic rifle similar to an AR-15 and modeled after the M4 carbine used extensively by the U.S. military.

Billed by Daniel Defense as “the perfect rifle for anybody” in promotional videos on its website, the DDM4 V7 has a price tag around $2,000.

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