Senator Rapert explains controversial gun tweet
CONWAY (KATV) —
A state senator is explaining himself after sending out a tweet that implied he was ready to use a gun on someone, who he says, was harassing him.
State Senator Jason Rapert tells Channel 7 News he was in the parking lot of a Conway Lowes on Saturday when he was approached by someone who he felt uncomfortable with.
"He said 'if your wife was at a DMV getting a license and a Muslim refused to give her a license, would you be okay with that?' And I said 'probably about as okay as I am with you walking up to me in the parking lot and getting smart with me'," said Rapert.
Later that night, Senator Rapert tweeted "Not smart to come up and harass somebody in a parking lot who's carrying a hand gun. Better be glad you decided to walk away #armed&ready".
A social media post from a man who says he approached Rapert started gaining traction online the next day. The man writes he was asking the senator a "complicated question regarding government/law" and he "didn't know asking government/law questions to a legislator qualified me for getting shot."
"I can see how this guy probably thinks he might be the focus of it, but he's not the focus of my tweet. I will say that his actions afterward pursuing me and saying things that really aren't true. I got a problem with that, but that's politics and that's what happens," said Rapert.
Rapert says in the past, State Police informed him his family had received death threats.
"When they called me and advised me of that, that is not something you take lightly. And at that time they told me to defend myself, to have a weapon if I have one to protect myself. And they also, for a period of time, told my family to leave the state of Arkansas," said Rapert.
On Tuesday, Rapert said he received death threats within the past 24 hours. He said gun owners should know how to use them and pray they never have to.
The man who posted on social media who said he tried to ask Rapert a question in the Lowes parking lot said he didn't have any comment on the matter.
Rapert said he removed the tweet because a local news publication was using it improperly, but doesn't regret it.