Tennessee state Rep. David Hawk (R-Greenville), who supported a bill to allow guns in bars, was arrested on Sunday and charged with domestic assault on his wife.
The lawmaker was released from Greene County jail Monday morning on $500 bond after pleading “not guilty.”
“I am innocent and did not do what was alleged against me,” he told reporters. “I did not harm my wife. … I have faith that the courts will see the truth.”
A criminal complaint obtained by The Greenville Sun stated that Hawk’s wife, Crystal, said the couple had been drinking on Saturday night when he became angry after “looking through her cell phone.”
Around 8 a.m. on Sunday, Hawk allegedly struck his wife in the face, causing “bruising and swelling on and around her right eye, an abrasion (to) the upper and lower right side of her lip, and a large bruise on her left upper arm.”
Judge Kenneth Bailey Jr. ordered the lawmaker to have no contact with his wife and supervised visits with their 11-month-old child.
But Hawk insisted to reporters that his wife was not telling the truth.
“Yesterday, my wife had a gun and told me she was going to put a bullet in my head, while I was holding my baby,” he asserted. “At that time, I escaped to safety with my daughter.”
In 2005, Hawk’s ex-wife, Julia, accused him of stalking her and asked the court for a protective order. The request was later dismissed on the same day the couple came to an agreement over custody of their then-four-year-old daughter.
The Greene County Republican is chairman of the Conservation and Environment Committee and also sits on the Finance, Ways and Means Committee and the Calendar and Rules Committee.
Throughout his career, he has been an advocate of gun rights, voting in 2010 to override Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen veto of a bill to allow guns in bars.
“It’s not about guns in bars,” he told The Greenville Sun at the time. “The issue is about citizens who have a legal permit to carry their guns in places where permit holders across the country are able to carry their guns.”
Hawk has filed as a candidate in the Aug. 2 Tennessee state Republican primary.
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