Tyler Tannahill, of Leavenworth, announced the AR-15 giveaway via his Twitter page on Feb. 13. However, the AR-15 is the same type of weapon that was used to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.
“I don’t think we have a gun problem. I think it’s a mental health issue, problem,” Tannahill told ABC affiliate KMBC-TV Thursday, adding it’s why the rifle raffle will continue.
“We don’t support people going into schools and shooting them up. That’s absolutely not what we support. We support the Second Amendment, and your right to protect yourself, your life, your property, and your family,” he told KMBC-TV.
Tannahill said the raffle is being done legally and that the winner would need to go to a gun store and pass all the legal federal background checks.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP PhotoThree variations of the AR-15-style assault rifle are displayed at the California Department of Justice in Sacramento, Calif., Aug. 15, 2012.
Social media was mixed on his giveaway up until the Florida school shooting, which is when comments on Tannahill’s Facebook page became heated, with many people calling him out for continuing the raffle.
However, there seems to still be some enthusiasm for the contest as more than 400 people have signed up for it since the announcement.
Tannahill is campaigning for the Kansas second district congressional seat currently held by Republican Lynn Jenkins.