(CN) - North Carolina's senior senator apologized Monday night for telling Republican supporters he was surprised Hillary Clinton appeared on the cover of a gun magazine without a bull's eye on her face.
Sen. Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was caught on tape making the remark to Republican Party volunteers in Mooresville, N.C., on Saturday. ''Nothing made me feel any better than I walked to a gun shop, I think, yesterday in Oxford," he said. "There was a copy of Rifleman on the counter [and] 'it's got a picture of Hillary Clinton on the front of it. I was a little bit shocked at that — didn't have the bullseye on it."
Burr's mention of the "Rifleman" is apparently a reference to American Rifleman, the monthly magazine of the National Rifle Association.
CNN got a copy of the audio and began broadcasting it late Sunday night.
Burr released a statement through his campaign Monday. "The comment I made was inappropriate, and I apologize for it," it says.
Burr, who represented North Carolina's 5th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2005, before moving to the senate, is currently locked in a tight race with Democrat Deborah Ross, a lawyer and former state lawmaker.
In the wake of the CNN report, the Democratic Coalition against Trump — reported Burr's comments to the Secret Service.
"Thanks to Donald Trump's place at the top of the ticket, Republicans, namely Senator Richard Burr, believe that they can joke about bulls-eyes being placed on the back of someone running for the highest office in the country," Democratic Coalition Against Trump Senior Advisor Scott Dworkin in a written statement. "We cannot allow this type of rhetoric to continue in our political system- I can only hope it all will end when Trump is defeated next week."
Several gun control groups including the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence called Burr's comments irresponsible and dangerous in a country strained by disputes over gun rights.
The Secret Service did not immediately respond to request for comment.