A political candidate in Colorado is under intense criticism and has even received death threats after suggesting the Newtown school shooting that killed 26 people was a hoax.
On his Facebook, Republican Tom Ready posted an article claiming that the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School could have been faked to drum up support for tougher gun control laws.
He was forced to defend his choice to share the article in a debate this week against Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace, whom he is hoping to unseat.
'I don’t think [the shootings have] been proven,' Ready said, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. 'And what’s wrong with open discussion?'
'There's still a question about whether it really happened, Sal,' Ready says in the televised debate, drawing boos from the audience.
'Some of the people, if you recall, there was a picture of a man walking in whose daughter had died, he was smiling and joking,' he continues. 'When he walked into the room, he turned and all of a sudden had tears in his eyes. 'Why? I question that.'
Ready on Saturday apologized for his remarks, telling the Denver Post that he simply 'pushed a button' to link to the article to encourage discussion. Yet he insisted to the Post that the country still doesn't know everything about Newtown — and also hinted that he's not a believer in the official version of the Kennedy assassination.
'We haven't got all the questions answered,' he told the newspaper. 'Where's freedom of speech? I didn't know we were a communist community.' Ready told the Post he's received death threats since he made the remarks. The 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School ended with 20 children and six adults dead after a deranged Adam Lanza, 20, opened fire throughout the hallways.
The shootings sparked a national debate about tougher gun laws.
Ready is not alone in his belief.
'Sandy Hook truthers believe that gun-control activists staged the shooting of 26 people in Newtown, Connecticut in December of 2012 in order to pave the way for tighter restrictions on firearms,' explains David Ferguson in RawStory.
'The 20 dead children and six dead adults and the disturbed man who took their lives are liberal phantasms, truthers believe, that are being used to ramp up hysteria which will lead to widespread government confiscation of weapons.'