Kansas Congressional Candidate Raffles Off AR-15 Day Before Parkland Shooting (Video)

What have we come to as a nation?

One day before a 19-year-old former student opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Fla., killing 17, a Kansas Republican announced on his social media pages a unique contest.

Marine veteran Tyler Tannahill from Leavenworth, running for Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ second congressional district seat, posted the following on his campaign Facebook and Twitter pages:

“As an avid sportsman, I’m excited to announce our first AR-15 Giveaway! You can earn multiple entries and no purchase is necessary to win! Enter today: http://tylertannahill.com/giveaway.php.”

That’s right, a candidate for United States Congress, at a time when we are experiencing a violent gun incident every day, is planning to give away a combat-style assault rifle, the same Parkland, Fla. gunman used in his mass shooting–the weapon of choice, it seems, responsible for most reported mass gun deaths in America today.

After the Florida shooting, Tannahill had the following to say in an interview with The Kansas City Star:

“No individual is for school shootings. It’s heartbreaking … being a parent, our thoughts on that, for me personally, I am a strong believer in the Second Amendment. I think we need to have a discussion of what can be done and throwing out comments of displeasure isn’t going to solve it.”

It is that support for the Second Amendment Tannahill cites as his reason for giving away the rifle–and the fact the contest coincides with the Kansas Republican Convention in Wichita this weekend.

Hours after the Florida shooting, Tannahill stated on social media he and his wife were “heartbroken to learn of the tragedy,” then shared a link to a nonprofit Buckeye Firearms Foundation program FASTER, which, according to its website, provides teachers and school personnel “practical violence response training.”

About that objective, Tannahill said:

 “I don’t think more laws could have prevented this [the Florida shooting]. We’re not trying to raise money off the school shooting. We do want to find a solution and I think this FASTER program is something we can look into implementing.”

Democrat Brent Welder, running to unseat U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District, called for an assault weapons ban after the shooting.

He stated:

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s time for action. I demand that Congress reinstate the ban on assault weapons… Hunters don’t use assault weapons — mass murderers do. They must be illegal.”

Believe it or not, Tannahill is not the first candidate for political office to use an AR-15 giveaway as a campaign gimmick. In September, Facebook barred Missouri senatorial candidate Austin Petersen for 30 days after livestreaming a raffle offering an AR-15 to his supporters.

The carnage that occurred Wednesday constituted the eighteenth school shooting just seven weeks into the year. It is the eighth school shooting resulting in death or injury .

And yet, President Trump yesterday spoke about gun violence without uttering the word “gun.” He instead stated the need to address “mental health.”

If you want to understand why that is, follow the money.

According to OpenSecrets.org, in 2016, the National Rifle Association (NRA) handed more than $50 million to key Republican candidates, including President Donald Trump, who received the most generous bribe–$30.3 million.  It showered $50.2 million, 96 percent of total outside spending, on Trump and six Republican Senate candidates, and lost only the race for former Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid’s Nevada senate seat, on which it invested roughly $2.5 million.

Image credit: iariodepernambuco.com.br

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News, Liberal Nation Rising, and Zoedune.