Gia Arnold, who ran for a New York State Senate seat with Tea Party support in 2014, was arrested on weapons charges in Niagara Falls last night. In her car were an assault rifle, a handgun, a combat knife, and a ski mask. To be fair to Arnold, it was pretty cold out—the mask could have just been for warmth.
Arnold was charged with possession of an assault weapon, as was Halim Johnson, an 18-year-old who was also in Arnold’s car when it was pulled over, upstate news network WKBW reports. A post on the fundraising site Rally.org identifies Johnson as Arnold’s boyfriend.
The Rally.org page has raised about $1,700 in support of Arnold at the time of this writing. “This rifle was never considered illegal before the (UN)Safe Act was passed into law, and many citizens consider this law null and void since it infringes on our 2nd Amendment rights,” it reads in part. Arnold, a Republican, campaigned on a pledge to repeal New York’s assault weapons ban, known as the SAFE Act.
The fundraiser also claims that the pair were victims of racial profiling. (Johnson is black.)
Arnold’s story was a strange one even before the arrest. As a 24-year-old in 2014, she ran as a primary challenger to longtime state senator George D. Maziarz, who suspended his campaign soon after announcing he would seek re-election. Then, Arnold suspended her own campaign after admitting that she’d begun an extramarital affair earlier that month, only to re-enter the race a week later. “When I made my announcement last week, I never fathomed the hundreds of texts, calls and emails that I received, almost all of which called for me to stay in this race and fight for truth, honesty and what is right for our Senate district,” Arnold told the Buffalo News at the time. She ended up losing to then-North Tonawanda Mayor Robert G. Ortt, who now holds the seat.