A Republican state senator in Missouri is planning to give away an assault weapon during a clay pigeon shooting fundraiser next month.
State Senate Majority Whip Brian Nieves (R-Washington) plans to give away a new Sig Sauer 516 Patrol AR-15 as part of his second annual clay shooting fundraiser on Oct. 12, according to a Facebook invitation for the event. Different versions of the AR-15 assault weapon were used in both last year's shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Nieves, one of the most conservative lawmakers in the tea party-controlled Missouri state legislature, is currently pushing for lawmakers to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of legislation nullifying federal gun laws in the state.
Nieves' fundraiser starts at $25 to attend lunch only, and costs $100 for those wanting to eat and shoot. There are also more expensive sponsorships available, according to the invitation posted on Nieves' Facebook page. The highest sponsorship is "sniper level," which costs $1,500.
$1,500 Sniper Level Sponsor: Four Shooter Packages, Six Station Sponsorships and SIX of only Fifty Chances ($100 each) at the Sig Sauer 516 PatrolAR15! (Sniper Package is a $1,900 Value!
The invite includes a note that even more discounts could be available to Second Amendment supporters.
P.S. - If you are an actual Constituent of the 26th District OR a True Blue Lover of our 2nd Amendment... You "May" be eligible for special pricing!!
P.P.S.S. - Somebody will be going home from this even [sic] with a Brand New Sig Sauer 516 Patrol!! Look it up folks - It's a Top of the line AR!!
Nieves is the second Missouri lawmaker to give away an AR-15 recently. In August 2012, state Rep. John McCaherty (R-High Ridge) held a fundraiser, scheduled prior to the Colorado shooting, during which a lucky attendee was able to win the gun.
Sean Soendker Nicholson, executive director of Progress Missouri, questioned Nieves' decision to do the giveaway just days before the state's gun veto vote. He noted that law enforcement officers have urged lawmakers to uphold Nixon's veto of the law, which would not allow the enforcement of federal gun laws that infringe on Second Amendment rights.
"The idea that there is a sponsor level known as 'sniper' is troubling," Soendker Nicholson said. "Snipers are people killing people. It is terrifying and tragic."
Nieves did not return messages left at both his legislative and campaign offices. A man listed on the Facebook invitation as "Tim" said "it is a class of sponsor" when reached by phone on Monday. When asked further questions about the giveaway, he said Nieves would be best prepared to answer them.
Nieves has raised eyebrows in the past for a series of reasons, including a Facebook post in July where he called liberalism a "mental disorder." And during a bizarre April email exchange with a constituent who asked to be removed from an email list, the state senator accused the person of being in love with him.
In 2010, Nieves was accused of assault by Shawn Bell, the campaign manager for the candidate Nieves defeated in the GOP state Senate primary. Nieves denied the accusation, and the Franklin County prosecutor did not file criminal charges, citing a lack of evidence.