GOP candidate going forward with AR-15 giveaway in wake of Florida shooting

A Republican running for a Kansas congressional seat is going forward with his planned AR-15 giveaway for his campaign after the same weapon was used to carry out the mass shooting at a Florida high school this week.

Tyler Tannahill, a Marine veteran, announced the giveaway one day before the shooting. He told The Kansas City Star that he would still hold the event in support of the Second Amendment.

"No individual is for school shootings. It's heartbreaking ... being a parent, our thoughts on that, for me personally, I am a strong believer in the Second Amendment," Tannahill told The Star. "I think we need to have a discussion of what can be done and throwing out comments of displeasure isn't going to solve it."

He said the contest had been planned a month earlier and timed to overlap with the Kansas Republican Convention this weekend.

After the shooting, Tannahill posted on social media that he and his wife were "heartbroken to learn of the tragedy." He encouraged people to donate to a training program for teachers and staff on how to respond to instances of possible gun violence called FASTER.

"We're not trying to raise money off the school shooting," Tannahill told the paper. "We do want to find a solution and I think this FASTER program is something we can look into implementing."

GOP candidates have utilized the giveaways in the past to fundraise for their campaigns and solidify their pro-Second Amendment standing.

Seventeen people were killed when a shooter opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday. The accused gunman, Nikolas Cruz, was apprehended by police the same day and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Cruz had legally purchased the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle he allegedly used in the shooting.