A Pittsburgh radio show host resigned Friday for threatening comments he made on Facebook and an on-air rant that bashed a local firearm store's giveaway of an AR-15 package and firearm owners all-together.
Tim Benz who hosted 105.9 The X morning show on Thursday began an argument over Pittsburgh Tactical Firearm's Facebook contest that was giving away an AR-15 and ammunition. Record of what was said on the show is not available, but those on the firearm store's Facebook page said that the store's owner Erik Lowry and "all supporters of tactical style firearms" were criticized by Benz on air.
A screenshot of a Facebook comment posted to Twitter also shows Benz under the 105.9 The X account threatening another commenter saying he thought "Obama's idea of flying drones over America is an awesome one ...so long as the drone is targeting your house. If he blew you away, he'd be doing us all a favor."
Here's a screenshot of the tweeted image (Content warning: some strong language):
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Benz saying the following regarding his actions:
“There was a flare-up about gun control on the show which included a good deal of flashback against the station,” Benz said. “I wasn't able to walk away from the fight ... (so) I decided to step away from the Morning Show.”
He also appears to have posted his thoughts on the 105.9 Twitter account earlier today as well:
As for the contest itself, which some have criticized as in "protest of Obama's gun proposals" and 105.9 asking on Facebook if it was the "BEST way to contribute to the GUN CONTROL debate?" Lowry, the owner of Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms, told TheBlaze in an interview the contest was never in response to the gun control debate in the first place.
"That was not our intention," Lowry said. "We're obviously pro-Second Amendment rights. We're pro-Bill of Rights people."
"The liberal media is exploiting [the contest,]" Lowry continued. "So many sites are putting us in a bad light."
A review of Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms' Facebook page shows that the AR-15 package contest, which is not the first contest the store has conducted, was issued on Dec. 24, well before Obama's official gun control proposals were laid out on Jan. 16.
Lowry said the contest was to drum up support for his Facebook page. He said he'd seen such campaigns done before and set the lofty goal of getting 25,000 "likes" by the first of the year. That date came and went without reaching his goal, so he lowered the stakes to getting only 10,000 "likes" and gave it some more time. A winner was announced this month, but shortly thereafter began receiving so much backlash on Facebook that he chose to shut down his account.
"He just wants to stay private," Lowry said of the man who won the firearm and ended up giving it to his son who is in the Navy. "He just wants to be left alone."
Now Lowry has the attention of many whether he wants it or not. He's been contacted by local and national media organizations. Smith Enterprises, a provider of various firearm-related products, contacted Lowry to donate what he said is a "care package" for his next Facebook giveaway contest.
Lowry also made an interesting point regarding the concern some have about owning "that" type of gun and the amount of guns people are purchasing -- he said after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., some people were buying multiple firearms at a time from his store. It's not just so they can stock up to arm themselves, Lowry said. He noted some people see the weapons as an investment. He pointed to the 1980s assault weapons ban that strictly limited civilian ownership of automatic weapons and drove up the price of firearms like the M-16. He also said some people who long were considering gun ownership might be jumping on board now because they fear it could be too late in the future.
Lowry said he is not surprised at the outpouring of support he has received on Facebook to Benz' comments and criticism of the AR-15 contest. He said Ted Nugent on Piers Morgan's CNN show a few days ago put the sentiment of many gun owners, including Lowry's own perspective, quite nicely.
"99.99% of the gun owners of America are wonderful people that you are hanging around with here today. Perfectly safe. Perfectly harmless. Wonderful, loving, giving, generous caring people. Would you leave us the hell alone?" Nugent said. And Lowry said he would agree on all points.