Lawmaker Is Giving Out Free Assault Rifles

Says death threats won't disrupt his plan
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2016 7:33 AM CDT
Lawmaker Is Giving Out Free Assault Rifles
Tennessee state Rep. Andy Holt   (Facebook)

Giving away semi-automatic weapons in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in US history might sound ill-advised, but that's exactly what a Tennessee state rep plans to do. Andy Holt announced last week that he'd give away an AR-15—a weapon used in mass shootings such as Aurora and San Bernardino—as a "door prize" at a campaign fundraiser and turkey shoot at his farm on June 25, where attendees are urged to bring their own rifle and ammo, reports the Tennessean. After the Orlando shooting, however, he's decided to give away two. "It was a bullet that stopped the terrorist," says Holt, the subject of a recent viral video, per the Nashville Post. "I want you to arm yourselves and learn to shoot with deadly accuracy should the need arise." He adds, per the Tennessean, that the AR-15 gets a bad rap: "It's black and it looks real scary," but "if I beat somebody to death with a hammer, that's just a hammer. But if I was to take and wrap it up in electrical tape and make it black, I guess that would make it an assault hammer."

Holt says he and a staffer received death threats from a caller in Memphis who promised to visit the State Capitol on Tuesday, but they won't sway his decision; state troopers have been alerted. Holt adds the giveaway isn't insensitive to the families of the Orlando victims since the issue is "the heart of the person who's pulling the trigger," and shooter Omar Mateen was a "crazed Islamist" and "ISIS devotee," per WSMV. "Ever been to a country where Muslims are the majority? If you have, you'll find gay men hanging in the streets," he writes on Facebook. The Tennessee Democratic Party chair says the fact that Holt plans to give away two rifles without background checks shows he's "a reckless and irresponsible gun owner" who could be arming "the next mass shooter." (More Tennessee stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.