Virginia Beach, VA – A Democratic candidate running for Virginia’s second congressional district is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), after she posted a video to social media that showed her sawing off the barrel of her husband’s AR-15 (video below).
The video, posted by school teacher and congressional candidate Karen Mallard on Wednesday, had been viewed nearly 2 million times as of Friday morning.
Mallard began her presentation by letting viewers know that she grew up “surrounded by guns.”
“Our family had guns my whole life,” she said. “We use them for hunting, for protection, and recreation.”
Despite her purported familiarity with firearms, Mallard said she was “not happy about it” when her husband purchased an AR-15 “awhile back.”
She did not explain why she disliked the rifle in comparison to the other firearms she had been around for her “whole life.”
Mallard said that she finally decided that she wanted the weapon “outta my house” after she learned about the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Florida, during which 17 people were slaughtered, and 14 more were wounded.
“We realized, we didn’t want this gun in anybody else’s house either,” Mallard said in the video. “So today, we’re going to destroy it.”
She then flipped down her protective mask, and proceeded to cut the weapon apart with a saw.
“As your future congresswoman, I’ll make comprehensive gun reform a top priority,” she declared at the conclusion of the video.
As the video spread, several people pointed out that Mallard violated federal law by altering a legal weapon, and turning it into an illegal firearm, WVEC reported.
According to the Sawed-Off Shotgun and Sawed-Off Rifle Act, unless specifically permitted, citizens are prohibited from possessing a rifle that was “modified to an overall length of less than 26 inches,” WVEC reported.
Mallard argued that she did nothing wrong.
“I knew exactly what I was doing,” she said, according to WTKR. “The gun was inoperable before I cut it. And we took it completely apart.”
“We own the gun so we destroyed it and took it straight to the police department and dropped it off. I wanted there to be one less gun and to do something about gun violence,” Mallard said.
On Thursday, the Virginia Beach Police Department (VBPD) confirmed that Mallard had turned the weapon over to their department, and said that ATF would be taking possession of it.
You can watch the video of Mallard’s potentially illegal firearm modification below: