Tennessee Lawmaker Insists On Giving Away a Rifle Similar to the One Used in the Orlando Massacre

In fact, he’s giving away two.

(Not the actual gun he's giving away.)<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-78539p1.html">Anatoly Vartanov</a>/Shutterstock

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The day after a rifle similar to an AR-15 was used to massacre 49 people at an LGBT club in Orlando, Tennessee state Rep. Andy Holt is standing by his decision to give away an AR-15 as a door prize at an upcoming campaign fundraiser and turkey shoot.

In fact, he’s now giving away two. Holt, a Republican, told a reporter who asked if the prize was insensitive in light of the recent shooting, “absolutely not.” Holt told The Tennessean that the only problem with the assault rifle is that “it’s black and it looks real scary.”

“If I beat somebody to death with a hammer that’s just a hammer,” Holt continued. “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 was a cosponsor on the state’s recent anti-transgender bathroom bill, which ultimately failed, and he introduced a successful bill that permits full-time employees of Tennessee colleges and universities to carry a handgun on campus.

In a Facebook post Monday morning, Holt issued a call to arms to his constituents. “I want you to arm yourselves and learn to shoot with deadly accuracy should the need arise,” he wrote. “Protect your family. Protect yourselves. Protect your friends. Our government has made it quite clear that it is incapable of doing so. At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility anyways.”

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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