Montana Gun Owners Dodge Bullet with Gianforte’s Defeat of Quist

By David Codrea

Looks can be deceiving. That’s why advertising professionals bring in specialty experts to get the illusions just right. (Rob Quist campaign commercial screenshot)
David Codrea in his natural habitat.

USA – -( Despite an 11th hour incident resulting in charges for allegedly assaulting a reporter, Republican Greg Gianforte beat back Democrat Rob Quist to retain GOP control of Montana’s at-large House of Representatives seat. Politically involved gun owners are breathing a sigh of relief.

It seems a curious reaction at first, as Quist campaigned as one of them.

“As a lifelong outdoorsman and gun owner, Rob is a strong supporter of our Second Amendment rights,” the candidate declared on his campaign website. “He will fight for the right of law-abiding Montanans to own and use guns responsibly.”

He even posted a campaign commercial where he shoots a rifle.

Not so fast, NRA responded. “Rob Quist supports gun control”:

And it wasn’t just Quist’s “supporting greater regulations on gun ownership.” His gun knowledge and skills were also called into question by Montana Shooting Sports Association President Gary Marbut:

“Mr. Quist is obviously not very familiar with firearms,” Marbut began. “He does commit some pretty egregious gun safety violations that would not be committed by any 13 year-old kid who had graduated from a Hunter’s Safety course. This tells me that the firearms video is just staged to impress people, but that’s not really who he is.”

Was “Joe” really “Average”?

Such staging, right down to shooting scenes framed around the back of a pickup truck, is familiar to gun owner rights advocates who recall an earlier effort by one of Michael Bloomberg’s slick New York ad agencies to convince hunters that “Average Joe” was one of them. That “Joe’s” identity was shrouded in secrecy hardly helped with his credibility.

Quist made fair a question that’s been asked before: Can there really be such a thing as a “pro-gun Democrat”? Obviously in a place like Montana, if you come out as anti-gun, you’ll be lucky to get elected dog catcher (unless it’s for a local seat in one of those artsy towns with an influx of recent refugee retirees from California, bringing with them the same nest-fouling proclivities that ruined the once-Golden State). So the party places “pragmatism” first — the object is to get their guy in power so he can advance the rest of their agenda.

But ultimately, that person will support putting a Barack Obama or a Hillary Clinton in power, enabling them to advance their gun owner control efforts, including through the appointment of federal judges. How can someone be “for” either of those politicians and still claim to be “for” the right to keep and bear arms?

And it’s not like previously “pro-gun” Democrats haven’t consistently shown their true colors when the need to wear a mask is over (witness “solidly pro-gun” Kirsten Gillibrand , “true champion of the Second Amendment” Harry Reid, and in Montana, A-rated “Legislator of the Year” Jon Tester, who nonetheless saw fit to side with Bloomberg on guns in post offices, and to oppose confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on purely partisan grounds.

With that (and plenty more) as background for so-called “pro-gun Democrats,” it’s evident gun owners dodged a bullet with the rejection of Quist.  What remains to be seen is if Gianforte ends up deserving their support, or if he’ll turn out to be another RINO disappointment. So far, he’s been “enthusiastically recommended” on guns by MSSA and he looks good on the tangentially-related issue of immigration.

Now is the time for him to live up to all the fine words.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.


Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Wild Bill

@LeB, Really? You never heard Feinstein say Turn in all your guns Mr and Mrs America? Pelosi, Schumer, both Clintons, Ded Kennedy. The democrat drive to take away Americans firearms and Second Amendment Civil Right predates World War II. And as soon as the Civil Right to bear arms is gone your bow will go, too. The anti hunting movement hates archery more than any other form of hunting.


Democrats were desperate to misrepresent Quist on the gun issue. I commented on many sites that Quist was an anti gun radical, and many obvious democrats replied that wasn’t true. Fortunately Montana gun owners were not fooled by Quist’s lies. There is no such thing as a pro gun or even pro America democrat.


I’m a pro gun democrat. I have no problems with guns…I do have a problem with republican polution of our fields and streams. I’ve never heard a democrat suggest taking away our hunting rifles, fishing poles, or shotguns…even if they want to keep war weapons only in the hands of the military. Fact is, I can hunt with a bow if it comes down to it…but PRO pollution destroys the environment I LOVE to hunt in.


So you have no problem with guns – as long as they’re strictly for hunting. Thanks for being clear about that.

As for your reference to “war weapons”, you may be shocked to learn that our military used pump shotguns in combat and continues to use bolt-action rifles in combat to this day. You may be further shocked to learn that despite the cosmetic similarity, the AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles that civilians can legally purchase are not the same as the fully-automatic weapons our military uses today.


I have no problems with guns…I DO have a problem with destroying the environment we hunt in. What’s more important to YOU….your gun? Or a nice field and stream to hunt and fish in? For me, I’d take the nature if there was a trade off, I’d take the 10 round mag instead of 15 or 30, and the clean unpolluted stream and field.


“War weapons” would include 12 gauge shotguns, bolt action rifles, glock and beretta magazine fed handguns in 9mm, and even the Israelis use 22 rifles to shoot riot organizers. All of those are literally carried and used in the battlefield today, and all are very commonly held weapons among american civilians.

So are there any firearms you would not ban? What is even left? Maybe a black powder device?


Yes, the Dems would love to move more muslim “refugees” (refujihadis) into Montana. Liberals in Missoula – a hotbed of liberal activity, partly thanks to the university – spoke of _wanting_ “refugees welcomed into their city. They would like to see Montana grow the way Idaho has:

Wild Bill

@RegT, What will you all do to stop it?


I live eighty miles south of there, in Ravalli County, and we already let our county commissioners know taking in refujihadis (any muslims) is unacceptable to us. They have stopped any action towards accepting muslim “refugees” into our county. The media – print and TV – in Missoula is run by liberals, and much of the population that lives in or near Missoula seems to be in favor of welcoming those snakes into their midst. Or, at least, they have the loudest voices. I have not paid attention to whether or not votes have been taken in Missoula County to… Read more »

Eric Equis

If Gianforte body-slams Pelosi on the house floor… it will ALL be worth it!

Rob Quist

The real question that you all need to address is that while Mr. Gianforte puts out ads showing himself hunting, he has given buckets of money to the very groups whose main goal is to take our public lands. I feel like the NRA backed the wrong horse on this one, and having been in other states that have lost access to public lands, the bamboozle has begun. I got into this race to protect our public lands and surely you all must know that the number one reason that people no longer hunt, fish and recreate is the loss… Read more »


Yeah, if my city is over run with radical muslims I’m just going to ask them to go fishing or hunting instead of trying to kill all of us Infidels. That could work. Not.


This is a lie, and Quist knows it. Bullock ran the same lies against Gianforte when they were both running for governor. The issue with Gianforte was over access to a stream for fishing over some of his land. He never restricted access, but wasn’t aware of an easement that existed when he bought the land in question. Ron Quist – obviously a sore loser – knows this as well as Bullock and the other Democrats who lied about it during the gubernatorial campaign. Go back to playing your music at nudist camps, Ron. That suits your abilities much… Read more »


This is a lie, and Quist knows it. Bullock ran the same lies against Gianforte when they were both running for governor. The issue with Gianforte was over access to a stream for fishing over some of his land. He never restricted access, but wasn’t aware of an easement that existed when he bought the land in question. Ron Quist – obviously a sore loser – knows this as well as Bullock and the other Democrats who lied about it during the gubernatorial campaign.


Since you feel so strongly about groups you believe are threatening to ‘take our public lands’, how you feel about the federal government taking private lands? I would refer you to the Hammond family, whose private property is sandwiched in the middle of the Malheur National Wildlife Area. In case you’re not familiar with the Hammonds, they are currently in federal prison as a result of being resentenced by your fellow democrats in the U.S. Attorneys office, a federal judge who was married to the chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon and the Progressives on the Ninth Circuit Court… Read more »


So you are saying the Second Amendment was about hunting? Was the First Amendment written so we can safely talk about hunting? Or were both written as checks on a central government from becoming too powerful in a post armed secession against the british world? I am not a fan of the groups like the koch brothers either, but mostly because they want the same sort of massive third world invasion of immigrants that virtually the entire democrat party, donor class, and media all support. You were defeated primarily because of the issues of immigration and gun rights, but also… Read more »


Speaking of slick advertising and “Average Joes”, let’s not forget Joe Manchin. He was NRA approved too, just before he ‘crafted’ the Manchin-Toomey bill on the deck of his average yacht.

Come to think of it, he’s up for reelection next year. I’m sure he can count on Wayne’s support again.


Apparently the Press needs to start carrying guns, to defend themselves against politicians?

John C Stephens

Yeah, right. They’d break out in horrible sweating cramps just from looking at a firearm, let alone touching one.

Gene Ralno

Regarding the very first sentence, I’m wondering what’s wrong with assaulting reporters, even if they get a little bit dirty from time to time.


Gianforte will be much better for Montana even if he does turn into a RINO, simply by doing less damage. I _am_ concerned about him doing just that, though. When he began campaigning for Ryan Zinke’s seat in the House, he stated that he and Zinke were good friends, and that he felt Zinke had done a great job. Unfortunately, Zinke followed the wishes of the RINOs, the GOPe, and voted to support the Democrat’s wish-list when Paul Ryan and the rest of the GOPe approved a CR giving them just about every dollar that Obama and the Dems wanted… Read more »

Scott Wilson

Excellent article, Mr. Codrea — as usual.

You’ve been steady fighting for gun rights and freedom for a couple of decades now. We are very fortunate to have your voice and creativity on our side. I know the job is mostly thankless, but thank you just the same, sir.


Agreed. We are fortunate to have codrea on our side.


No comments?