State Politics

Campaign video takes aim at SC congressman for saying school kids should carry guns

A new campaign video is taking aim at an S.C. congressman for telling a comedy show that preschoolers should be armed with guns to protect themselves in the event of a school shooting.

Democrat Sean Carrigan, who is seeking the 2nd District seat in the U.S. House, released the video Thursday, pairing the comments from incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson of Lexington with images of a young girl carrying a toy rifle in her backpack.

Wilson appeared on the Showtime series “Who is America?” in July, where he read a statement from comedian Sacha Baron Cohen that endorsed a program to arm preschool-age children. Wilson was one of several politicians Baron Cohen got to endorse the fictitious gun program on his comedy show.

After the segment aired, the nine-term congressman said that he had fallen for a practical joke, McClatchy reported.

Carrigan’s online video ends with text saying, “Arming children is ridiculous. It’s time to unseat Joe Wilson.” In a statement, his 2nd District campaign said the blue-painted rifle seen in the video is a toy, purchased for the video shoot.

Carrigan, an Army veteran, said carrying out Wilson’s suggestion of arming school children only would increase gun deaths.

“In the aftermath of being duped or tricked, he’s never taken back what he says in the video,” Carrigan said. “He’s never said, ‘We shouldn’t give kids guns.’ ”

However, Wilson’s office said Thursday the Republican does not support arming preschoolers.

“No, the congressman does not support arming preschoolers,” said Wilson communications director Jennifer Krantz.

On TV, Wilson told a disguised Baron Cohen, “A 3-year-old cannot defend itself from an assault rifle by throwing a ‘Hello Kitty’ pencil case at it. Our founding fathers did not put an age limit on the Second Amendment.”

Wilson later told The State he was told he was going to be thanked for being a friend of Israel. Baron Cohen posed as an Israeli anti-terror expert for the interview.

“I was targeted due to my strong support of Israel and my open-door office policy — and what I told this group was that I’ve worked to strengthen our relationship with Israel and that I will continue to work with President Donald Trump to do so,” Wilson said at the time.

But Carrigan said the video shows Wilson can be “easily tricked.”

“When your judgment is that impaired, you should be held accountable,” the candidate said. “You would think you would read that to yourself first and see if you want to say it out loud.”

Related stories from The State in Columbia SC