A Republican nominee for Congress is defending his decision to post a photo of his gun on Facebook along with the message, "Welcome to Tennessee, Mr. Obama."
In a Saturday night Facebook post, Brad Staats attached a photo of his silver and black Colt 1911 semi-automatic pistol along with a message directed at President Barack Obama:
Many people in Tennessee keep asking me about my opinion on Second Amendment rights. Apparently Tennesseans are part of that crazy crowd that Obama says "cling to their religion and guns." Well, then I must be part of that crazy crowd. Here is something that I usually have with me. Welcome to Tennessee Mr. Obama, where we appreciate our 2nd Amendment rights and the Constitution that was wisely given to us by our founding fathers.
"Good Lord, no," Staats told The Tennessean when asked if he had threatened the commander in chief. "Absolutely not. I’m not one of those that would ever threaten the president. He’s probably got enough of his own stuff to worry about without me."
Staats later wrote on Facebook that his remarks had been "completely taken out of context."
"My post from Friday was regarding the fact that the UN Small Arms Treaty, passed last week will undermine our Second Amendment Rights," the candidate explained, although his original post had never mentioned the UN arms treaty.
"I'm going to say what I mean and mean what I say and I want Tennesseans and Americans to know that I'm not going to back up on what I say," Staats insisted to WKRN on Monday.
"I do want President Obama to know as well as the rest of Congress and everyone else regarding our constitutional rights, don't tread on America's Constitution. I think that your liberties, your life can be defended by the proper instructed use of a handgun," he said, adding that his mother's life had been saved because she carried a weapon.
"She would have either been raped or murdered had she not had a handgun in her car. [She] actually got ran off the road and it was obvious she was getting ready to be assailed."
The Secret Service said it was aware of the Facebook posting and would investigate if necessary, according to The Tennessean.
Staats is hoping to unseat Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper in November.
Watch this video from WKRN, broadcast Oct. 1, 2012.