Tennessee lawmaker receives threats after raffling AR-15 rifle

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.  --  State Rep. Andy Holt of Dresden released phone recordings Monday night of a man with a 901 area code threatening his staffer because Holt is raffling off two AR-15 rifles.

In the recordings, provided by Holt, the caller said he was armed and clearly sounded angry.

The caller was later identified as Michael Barrach, and the TBI has an active file on him, Holt said. Other staffers at the Capitol have also reported threats he made to legislators.

Holt said he plans to press charges.

Holt posted the following on his Facebook page: "My legislative assistant and I are now receiving death threats at the capitol from those peace-loving liberals. Out of concern for children that are often visiting the Capitol, we are currently filing a report with Tennessee State Troopers. The caller is threatening to visit the capitol with his firearms."

Holt recently made news burning a speeding ticket at his desk; now the Republican lawmaker, who's running for re-election, is raffling off two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles at a campaign event.

It's very similar to the Sig Sauer AR-15 rifle used by a terrorist to murder 50 people in Orlando's mass shooting over the weekend.

The gun has been the focus of calls to ban it after having been used in several mass shootings.

The gun fires one bullet for each time the trigger is pulled

Many people disagree with the raffle prize, but the caller from the Mid-South phone number went further, although Holt's staffer egged him on a bit.

“Sir, you're a very violent person. I hope you don't have firearms,” said the staffer.

“Oh I got plenty,” the caller responded.

The exchange later included the staffer rebuffing a threat.

“…says the man who makes threats over the telephone,” said the staffer.

“OK, you want me to come to your office? I'll be there tomorrow,” responded the caller.

“OK, we'll see you here,” said the staffer.

State police are taking the exchange seriously and investigating it as Holt's actions draw more attention.

State Democratic party chair Mary Mancini said Monday night:

“Responsible gun owners don't give away guns without background checks. Responsible gun owners don't put guns in the hands of strangers.  Andy Holt doesn't know if he's putting the winning raffle ticket in the hands of the next mass shooter.”

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