He has mentioned that his gun firm was born out of his poor golf recreation. As a substitute of puttering across the course, Mr. Daniel began utilizing an AR-15 — the kind of gun he would later go on to make — for goal apply. “Each shot he fired crammed him with a satisfaction he’d by no means earlier than skilled,” the firm’s web site says.
On the time, Mr. Daniel had hassle discovering a strategy to mount a scope onto his rifle. He started designing and promoting his personal accent that allowed gun house owners so as to add lights, a variety finder and lasers onto the rifle.
He obtained his break in 2002 at a gun present in Orlando, Fla., the place he was approached by a consultant of the U.S. Particular Forces. He finally gained a $20 million contract to supply the equipment for fight rifles. Extra offers adopted. In 2008, he gained a contract with the British navy, in keeping with Daniel Protection’s web site.
By 2009, the corporate had expanded to creating weapons for shoppers. Its navy ties have been the idea of its advertising, which regularly featured closely armed fighters. “Use what they use,” one advert says. One other reveals a military-style scope aimed toward passing automobiles on what appears like an everyday metropolis avenue. Others embody references — utilizing hashtags and catchphrases — to the “Name of Obligation” online game.
Earlier than the 2000s, most gun makers didn’t market military-style assault weapons to civilians. On the largest business commerce reveals, tactical navy gear and weapons have been cordoned off, away from most of the people. That began to vary round 2004, business specialists say, with the expiration of the federal assault weapon ban.
“Corporations like Daniel Protection glorify violence and warfare of their advertising to shoppers,” mentioned Nick Suplina, a senior vp at Everytown for Gun Security, a gaggle that helps gun management.
In 2012, the Sandy Hook taking pictures led to an industrywide surge in gun gross sales, as firearm lovers stocked up, fearing a authorities crackdown. In an interview with Forbes, Mr. Daniel mentioned the taking pictures “drove a variety of gross sales.” (Forbes reported that Daniel Protection had gross sales of $73 million in 2016.)
After the taking pictures, Daniel Protection supplied workers further extra time to satisfy skyrocketing demand, in keeping with Christopher Powell, who labored for the corporate on the time. “They saved individuals centered on the duty at hand,” he mentioned.
However within the late 2010s, some colleagues began to fret that Mr. Daniel had change into distracted by the glamour of selling the model and rubbing shoulders with celebrities and politicians, in keeping with a former Daniel Protection supervisor. They voiced issues that a few of the advertising supplies have been inappropriate for a corporation that manufactures lethal weapons, mentioned the supervisor and a former govt, who didn’t need their names used as a result of they feared authorized or skilled repercussions.
Some adverts featured youngsters carrying and firing weapons. In one other, posted on Instagram two days after Christmas final 12 months, a person dressed as Santa Claus and carrying a navy helmet is smoking a cigar and holding a Daniel Protection rifle. “After an extended weekend, Santa is having fun with MK18 Monday,” the caption states, referring to the gun’s mannequin.
The business’s aggressive advertising has landed some firms in hassle. Earlier this 12 months, the gun maker Remington reached a $73 million settlement with households of kids killed on the Sandy Hook college in Newtown, Conn. The households had claimed that Remington improperly marketed its assault rifles, together with with its weapons showing in “Name of Obligation,” which the killer at Sandy Hook had often performed.
A 12 months after Sandy Hook, with the Tremendous Bowl approaching, Daniel Protection deployed a brand new advertising stunt.
The Nationwide Soccer League had a coverage prohibiting adverts for weapons on its telecasts. However Daniel Protection tried to purchase a 60-second spot that depicted a soldier returning house to his household, with ominous music within the background. “I’m chargeable for their safety,” the advert’s narrator intones. “And nobody has the best to inform me methods to defend them.”
Given the N.F.L.’s ban on gun adverts, it was no shock that the advert was rejected. (Daniel Protection claimed that the advert complied with the coverage as a result of the corporate sells merchandise apart from weapons.) However Mr. Daniel turned the rejection right into a rallying cry, and the conservative media lapped it up. Showing on Fox Information’s “Fox & Associates,” he urged viewers to “name the N.F.L. and say, ‘C’mon, man, run my advert.’”
“That’s Marty Daniel at work,” Mr. Powell mentioned. “He’s not a kind of typical C.E.O.s that you just see.”
Mr. Daniel and his spouse, Cindy, have labored hand-in-hand with the Nationwide Rifle Affiliation to lift cash for the group, promote weapons to its members and beat again requires gun management.
In recent times, Mr. Daniel and Ms. Daniel, the corporate’s chief working officer, grew to become outspoken supporters of Donald J. Trump, contributing $300,000 to a gaggle aligned with Mr. Trump. Mr. Daniel joined the “Second Modification Coalition,” a gaggle of gun business heavyweights who suggested Mr. Trump on gun coverage.
Mr. Daniel advised Breitbart Information in 2017 that Mr. Trump’s election saved “our Second Modification rights.” He and his spouse have additionally donated to different Republican candidates and teams, together with of their house state of Georgia. To this point within the 2022 election cycle, they’ve given greater than $70,000 to Republicans.