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Candidate’s Gun Giveaway Gets Mixed Reactions From California Republicans

Walters asked Tacherra's campaign to take her name off promotional material for his event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A California House hopeful’s plan to reward donors with handguns days after last week's mass shooting in San Bernardino has caused one House member to distance herself from the event.  

Johnny Tacherra, the GOP candidate hoping for a rematch against incumbent Democrat Jim Costa, told Roll Call he cooked up the “2nd Amendment BBQ ” — scheduled to take place within the Full Spectrum Firearms showroom in Fresno on Saturday — after bumping into FSF founder Jon Rains at an NRA dinner earlier this fall. To boost fundraising, FSF agreed to furnish up to a dozen 9mm or .40-caliber pistols to contributors that reserve an entire table, at $2,700 for eight seats.  

As he’s done in the past , Tacherra wove the names of sitting pols who’ve previously endorsed his campaign into the event flyer, a roster that includes: Reps. Darrell Issa, Steve Knight, Doug LaMalfa, Tom McClintock and Mimi Walters.  

Walters has since made it clear she's not part of the event.  

“The Congresswoman has endorsed Mr. Tacherra, however, she was unaware of the fundraiser and would not have agreed to lend her name to the event,” a spokeswoman for the freshman lawmaker said in an email. Team Walters noted that she would not attend the barbecue and said it had asked Tacherra to remove her name from any associated promotional materials.  

McClintock, however, didn’t waver a bit.  

“Congressman McClintock believes that armed Americans are the most effective defense against armed terrorists. If just one person in that room [in San Bernardino] could have returned fire, the terrorists would not have been able to kill so many innocent people,” an aide asserted.  

Tacherra said the tragedy which unfolded about 280 miles south of Fresno has only sparked more interest in his policy prescriptions. (He’s for a national conceal carry law and Nov. 16 called for a moratorium on all Middle Eastern immigrants .)  

“Many new donors are engaging. They are done with a failed President who is attacking not only our rights but our very liberty as Americans,” Tacherra said.  

He said people in the 16h District — including his wife, Lisa Marie, whom Tacherra said recently approached him about signing her up for a gun training course — have been shaken by recent events.  

“Everybody’s concerned … so they want to be able to protect themselves,” he suggested.  

Costa edged out Tacherra by 1,300 votes last November. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rates the race Safe Democrat .  

Related: GOP House Hopeful Lends Hand to Widow of San Bernardino Attack Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016 Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.