Kansas congressional candidate faces criticism for ‘AR-15 giveaway’

(Screenshot of the Facebook post)

As our nation debates the proper response to yet another mass shooting, a Kansas congressional candidate is getting a lot of negative attention online.

Republican Tyler Tannahill, 31, launched an “AR-15 giveaway” on his Facebook page the day before the shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead.

The Kansas congressional hopeful from Leavenworth said hundreds have already registered for his raffle.

The man running for the 2nd Congressional District seat held by retiring Republican Lynn Jenkins describes himself as an "avid sportsman.”

He defended it by saying his team came up with the giveaway to support his campaign weeks ago to coincide with the Republican National Convention in Wichita this weekend.

“The misconception is people are accusing me of launching this because of the shooting, but we launched it a day before,” he said.

However, Tannahill's post has not been taken down following the shooting.

Critics have called for him to end the giveaway after the mass shooting in Florida, where authorities said the gunman used the same weapon.

When asked if he was still going to give away the AR-15, he said, “We’re still going to continue with it. People aren’t calling for gun stores to shut down today. People aren’t calling for people to turn over their AR-15s. I’m a proud supporter of the Second Amendment. I stand by that firmly.”

“Obviously, my wife and I, our thoughts are prayers with these people, are with them as parents,” he said. “We feel horrible. Our heart reaches out to them to say I’m sorry for that.”

People have been expressing how they feel on social media.

One person called Tannahill “a morally bankrupt person.” Two others call the raffle to support his campaign, “disgusting.”

Tannahill, a former Marine who served overseas, said the raffle shows his support for the Second Amendment. He said it was not to offend anyone.

“Friends have disowned themselves from me,” he said. “It’s hurtful, but it’s worth it.”

Tannahill said he is in favor of arming teachers in schools.

He also said the winner of his raffle must be 18 and meet all legal requirement to purchase and own a firearm.

UPDATE: The Facebook post has been removed but the giveaway is still available on Tannahill's campaign website.

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