Since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, gun advocates have, by and large, wisely kept out of the spotlight. Even the National Rifle Association, hardly a bastion of liberal thinking, was self-aware enough to temporarily suspend their social media accounts and exercise restraint before finally issuing a statement four days after the tragedy.
The Asheville Tea Party has no such moral quandaries. On Monday, the group posted a flyer for a fundraiser they are calling “The Great Gun Giveaway.” They link back to a donate page where supporters can enter for a chance to win one of two semi-automatic guns, a .22 magnum handgun and an AR-15 assault rifle with two 30-round clips.
If that second gun sounds at all familiar, it’s probably because the same gun was used in Newtown to murder 20 children and six others less than a week ago.
Only after word of the gun raffle began circulating on social media sites did the group post a letter in response to charges of insensitivity and disrespect for the dead — many of whom have yet to be buried. But rather than reschedule their fundraiser or even offer an apology for their poor timing, the chair of the group’s PAC instead defended the raffle and argued for introducing more guns into public schools:
"We have given the Federal Government permission to disarm school officials by force of law and threat of imprisonment. They are now incapable of defending the children under their care. This is the reality. Does this not need to be changed?…ATPAC decided to go through with this raffle at this time because everyone is paying attention. We refuse to allow the Left and the Liberal mindset to once again hijack the conversation as they have and allow the political hacks to pass laws that continue to limit our inalienable right to protect ourselves and the most defenseless among us.
If in fact gun control advocates are able to pass legislation to help keep military-grade assault rifles out of Kindergarteners’ classrooms, it will hardly be a continuation of any kind. During the first four years of President Obama’s administration, gun owners have actually seen a steady increase in their ability to purchase, carry, and conceal handguns and gun manufacturers have sold more weapons than any other time in U.S history.
The Asheville Tea Party has a history of inflammatory rhetoric, previously comparing President Obama to Hitler, sounding the alarm over the impending threat of Sharia law, and advocating for nullification, the thoroughly debunked and unconstitutional theory that a state can simply decide to ignore federal law within its borders.