TN lawmaker buys gun to show background check loophole

Lawmaker buys gun, takes to state capitol
Rep. Stewart with the AR-15 he bought. (Source:
Rep. Stewart with the AR-15 he bought. (Source:

NASHVILLE, TN (WMC) - A Tennessee lawmaker's attempt to get a bill passed ultimately failed, but it's now raising a lot of eyebrows.

State Rep. Mike Stewart bought an AR-15 rifle without ever showing any form of identification.

"I turned my $750 into an assault rifle in the parking lot," Stewart said.

Stewart found someone selling an AR-15 online. He offered to buy it, set up a meeting, and purchased the rifle without any problems.

He then brought the weapon to a House committee meeting to drive home his point that background checks should be required for all gun sales--not just sales by licensed retailers.

Julie Hill owns gun retailer Arms Fair. She agrees with Rep. Stewart.

"I think it's just better for the person selling the firearm, so there's no responsibility," Hill said. "As well as just making sure firearms don't get in the hands of the wrong people."

She understands concerns that any gun sale restriction is a slippery slope.

"They're afraid that by doing that the gun will become registered," Hill said. "The State of Tennessee does not have gun registration."

That doesn't mean Hill thinks background checks are going to stop mass shootings, but she said that doesn't mean we should just openly allow anyone to buy a gun.

"Criminals are not going to follow the rules," Hill said. "They're not going to follow the laws. All you're doing is making sure there's somebody who is trying to get a gun who doesn't, and the person that is selling it goes through the right channels."

Rep. Stewart's grand gesture ultimately failed. The bill died in committee.

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