As news of a fatal mass shooting at a newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland was breaking, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) tweeted out an article from alt-right website Breitbart about her National Rifle Association-backed bill to bar states from implementing gun registration systems.
“Here in Mississippi, we understand that the right to own a gun represents a fundamental founding principle of our country,” Hyde-Smith wrote.
At the time of her tweet, at least five people were already dead in the Capitol Gazette newspaper building in Annapolis, according to police.
Here in Mississippi, we understand that the right to own a gun represents a fundamental founding principle of our country. Washington liberals just don't get it… our constitutional rights are NOT up for negotiation! #cindy2018https://t.co/bckmXt1vcD
— Cindy Hyde-Smith (@cindyhydesmith) June 28, 2018
Hyde-Smith’s tweet was met with anger from constituents on Twitter:
“You are a state senator posting a white supremacy website,” one user wrote. “Are you aware we can all see this?”
You are a state senator posting a white supremacy website. Are you aware we can all see this?
— Lori (@thebutterknife) June 28, 2018
A bunch of people just got murdered doing the First Amendment. Weird time to be going on about the Second.
— Kate (@KateElmore) June 28, 2018
Don't include me in your 'we.' Don't speak for all of us, Certainly not when you Tweet this while I'm watching live feeds of press being murdered. I voted Democrat 1st time in my life last month, because of ppl like you. out of touch! (@dbaria @espyforsenate) #VetsForGunReform
— Michael Blackstock (@_luckygecko) June 28, 2018
Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to her Senate seat in April after longtime Senator Thad Cochran retired, has felt pressured to defend her record on gun rights as she faces as a challenge from far right State Senator Chris McDaniel. In 2014, Breitbart backed McDaniel’s failed bid to unseat Cochran.
Breitbart is the former home of Steve Bannon, who once pledged to make it a platform for the alt-right – the white supremacist movement that backed Donald Trump and organized the deadly march in Charlottesville, Virginia last year. Breitbart is also the former home of Milo Yiannopoulos, who recently said he “can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists.”
Today, Yiannopoulos is under fire after the shooting at the Capitol Gazette. He defended himself, saying his comments were just “trolling.”
Hyde-Smith was praised by NRA-ILA executive director Chris Cox for her gun legislation.
“This important legislation will block the use of federal funds to support gun registration schemes,” Cox said.
Hyde-Smith will face off in a jungle primary style-election against Republican McDaniel and Democrat Mike Epsy in November.