By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- 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.”
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.