Republican congressional candidate Paul Broun incited controversy after suggesting citizens use the AR-15 rifle to protect themselves against “looting hordes from Atlanta.”
Paul Broun’s new political ad features the former congressperson stalking through a field wielding an AR-15 rifle. In what could be considered a dual ad for both his candidacy and the rifle itself, he recommends the model to citizens looking to protect themselves, their family, and their property.
The controversy arises when he suggests from whom they must protect themselves during the pandemic. “Whether it’s looting hordes from Atlanta, or a tyrannical government from Washington, there are few better liberty machines than an AR-15.” He also mentions “Marxists” who understand the public won’t put “government on the throne of our hearts without a big fight.”
The fear-stoking comments, which seem to signal civil unrest, drew the most criticism for their hordes reference. Atlanta’s population features a Black majority. Broun, a white man, runs his campaign out of Gainesville in Hall County, a majority white area.
When pressed on the racist implication of his comments, he rejected the assertion. However, he also cited protests in majority Black cities as evidence the health crisis might lead to looting.
Sales of Rifles, Handguns Already Up
The public hardly seems to need Broun’s influence to seek out rifle purchases. Gun sales dramatically increased across the United States since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Lines outside some gun stores wrapped around the block in mid-March.
In the same interview conducted by The Guardian, Broun also rejected the possibility of his words increasing the likelihood of Black individuals becoming targets in majority white neighborhoods. “Get real,” he replied.
Broun originally left congress amidst an ethics scandal involving one of his staff. An investigation scrutinized the expenditure of tax dollars by Broun’s chief of staff for a political consultant.
5 years on from his resignation, he wants back.