Tennessee Legislator Pulls Out Assault Rifle On House Floor To Prove A Point On Easy Gun Availability

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tennessee State Rep. Mike Stewart pulled out an assault rifle before his colleagues on the legislature floor in an effort to prove a point on easy gun availability.

Rep.. Stewart, who said he bought the gun online, asked law enforcement to secure the gun so he could safely show it to colleagues in the legislative chamber

Noting that Brady background checks are not required for every gun sale in Tennessee, Rep. Stewart said he was able to buy the gun with cash. There was no identification required and no questions asked.

Rep. Stewart said, "In the state of Tennessee, anyone at all can go into a gun show or go online and buy a gun with no background check and no questions asked. I really felt it was necessary to illustrate this to my colleagues and people around the state, showing them just how easy it can be for a prohibited purchaser to buy a gun if background checks are not required. And I really hope they paid attention because when violent felons and domestic abusers are able to buy a gun with nothing but a handful of cash, it puts lives at risk.

"Tennessee has a long, proud history of hunting and gun ownership - and this is about keeping guns only out of the hands of the people we all agree should not have them. Those who would stand in the way of expanding Brady background checks are moving against a popular tide - Tennesseans and Americans from all political stripes have had enough of senseless gun violence in America. And I will work with any politician or citizen who is ready to put a stop to it." 

Dan Gross,  president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said: "This is a great example of the type of bold leadership that elected officials can and should take, even in states like Tennessee with a rich history of gun ownership. We applaud Rep. Mike Stewart for demonstrating how easy it is for anyone to get their hands on a gun online or at gun shows when background checks are not required. Had a domestic abuser, violent felon, or terrorist been the one to purchase that rifle, the lesson Rep. Stewart taught his colleagues today could have come at a much higher cost. 

"This is not a political or idealogical issue. In fact, 90 percent of Americans already agree - Congress should finish the job that Jim Brady, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton started by expanding lifesaving Brady background checks to every gun sale. As Rep. Stewart demonstrated yesterday, we all want the same thing - to keep guns out dangerous hands. Outside the reach of lobbyists and special interests, this is not a controversial idea. That's why six states have expanded Brady background checks since the Sandy Hook tragedy, with two more on the way this November. This momentum is so clearly the result of an America that has has enough of the terror that kills 90 people each day. We call on every politician at all levels of government to follow Mike Stewart's example and lead on this life and death issue."


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