“I knew exactly what I was doing.” Congressional candidate saws AR-15 apart

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Karen Mallard, a local teacher who is also one of many Democrats challenging Scott Taylor for his congressional seat, is sawing an AR-15 apart in a video. She said she did it to take a " a personal stand for gun safety" and is not backing down.

"We own the gun so we destroyed it and took it straight to the police department and dropped it off. I wanted there to be one less gun and to do something about gun violence," said Mallard.

The video has been viewed more than a million times on her Facebook page. It's also drawing a lot of negative comments. Some people are saying destroying the rifle won't keep students safe. Some are saying what Mallard did was illegal.

"It is all to intimidate me and I will not be intimated. And I'm going to fight gun reform, for our children and for our community," said Mallard.

News 3 reached out to local attorney Eric Leckie and showed him the video. He said, "Sawing off the end of a rifle barrel would probably not destroy it. But if it shortened the barrel to under 16 inches, sawing off the end would make it immediately illegal and it`s a very bad idea," said Leckie.

"I knew exactly what I was doing. The gun was inoperable before I cut it. And we took it completely apart. And we didn't put all that on video because I wanted to get the message to the students that I was standing with them," said Mallard.

Virginia Beach Police confirmed Thursday afternoon the gun was in their possession and waiting to be picked up by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.