A Virginia Democrat vying for a seat in Congress wanted to take a public stand against guns, and got a lot of attention, though she may have inadvertently broken the law.
Karen Mallard, one of a crowded field of challengers competing for Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District — a seat currently held by a Republican — posted a video to social media Wednesday in which she takes a grinder to her husband’s AR-15 rifle and slices away the front part of the handguard and barrel.
Mallard prefaced the act by saying she did not want the gun in her house and, after the student speeches in the days after the Parkland school shooting, did not want the gun in anyone’s home. Post-grinding, Mallard said she is joining Moms Demand Action and intends to make gun reform a “top priority” if elected.
That’s a lot of stuff going on in a two-minute video.
As numerous individuals pointed out to Mallard on social media once the clip was circulated, many of which she dismissed as “NRA trolls,” the act of creating a short barreled rifle with a barrel less than 16-inches long is strictly regulated under the National Firearms Act.
Those seeking to convert an existing firearm into a SBR need to first submit a Form 1 to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives along with the required tax payment which then has to be approved, a process that can take months. Possession of an unregistered NFA item is a felony. The clip ends with the abbreviated barrel still attached to a receiver that was not destroyed in line with ATF specifications.
Though Mallard at first removed the video, she later re-posted it and asserted that she destroyed the gun, saying “I finished the job according to regulation and turned it over to the police.”
Her platform includes universal background checks, a seven-day mandatory waiting period for gun purchases, and a ban on “military-style weapons” and bump stocks.
With the Democratic primary set for June 12, should Mallard prove successful she will go up against incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor in November. Taylor, a former Navy SEAL, represents the military-heavy Virginia Beach area in Congress. Democrats have only controlled the seat for a single two-year stint in the past 18.