Politicians under scrutiny after launching "AR-15 Giveaway" raff - KMOV.com

Politicians under scrutiny after launching "AR-15 Giveaway" raffles

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AR-15 (Credit: AP Images) AR-15 (Credit: AP Images)
The raffle listed on Tannahill's website. (Credit: Tannahill Republican for Congress) The raffle listed on Tannahill's website. (Credit: Tannahill Republican for Congress)
KMOV.com -

The suspect in the Florida high school shooting used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in the attack. Now, a Missouri Senate candidate and Kansas Congressional candidate are getting a lot of negative attention for giving away that same weapon in a raffle.

Austin Petersen is hoping to clinch the Republican nomination for United States Senate in Missouri this August. In September, Petersen's campaign posted an AR-15 giveaway on its website. 

The site stated, "No contributions or purchase necessary to enter or win the prize." 

According to Petersen's campaign, more than 5,000 people entered the contest, and the weapon was ultimately given to a Georgia man on Halloween. 

Petersen told News 4 he chose the AR-15 because it was provided by a donor. 

"If somebody gave us a 1911 sidearm, we would have given that away," Petersen said. 

Petersen said he "feels for the victims and families" in Florida, but adds "there isn't any tragedy that justifies taking away the rights of innocent people." 

He does not regret the AR-15 giveaway, and said his campaign followed all applicable laws.

Petersen describes himself as a pro-gun candidate, but said "I have never been contacted by the NRA" and confirmed he is not currently endorsed by the NRA.

Republican Tyler Tannahill of Kansas launched an "AR-15 Giveaway" on his Facebook page the day before the shooting in Florida.

He said hundreds registered for the raffle, and he still plans to move forward with it.

The Facebook post on his page has been taken down, but the raffle is still available on Tannahill's campaign website.

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