Montana’s “Moderate” Governor Admits Desire to Ban Semi-Automatic Firearms

Semi-automatic firearms aren’t assault weapons—even Montana voters won’t be fooled by those claims.


Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT) is alienating much of his constituency in Montana with recent statements affirming his support of a ban on semi-automatic firearms, which mainstream media outlets have deemed an endorsement of “assault weapons ban.” If you recall the 1994 assault weapons ban, it had little-to-no effect in reducing overall gun crime in this country.


During an interview yesterday on CNN’s “State of the Union” with host Jake Tapper, Bullock was pressed if he would support a ban on semi-automatic firearms — i.e. your basic hunting rifle or AR-15 — in an effort to root out “assault weapons.”


Bullock said, “You know, I would, Jake.”


“If we really step back for a minute, I think most folks, be it in Montana or elsewhere, that are firearms owners want to keep themselves and their families safe.”


In wake of these statements, Bullock’s spokesperson said this:


“Gov. Bullock is doing what most Americans are right now — reflecting on how we got to the point where mass shootings are a common event — and trying to find a way to stop it,” Abel said. “Like many Montanans, Bullock is a gun owner and a hunter and he personally doesn’t see the need for these kinds of firearms for hunting or personal safety.


“There are things we can do to keep guns out the hands of people who shouldn’t have them without taking privately owned weapons from those who legally own them.”


For a supposed gun owner and hunter, Governor Bullock’s comments come from a place of deep-seated ignorance. Semi-automatic firearms — meaning per one pull of the trigger, one bullet exits the chamber and is fired versus one pull of the trigger and many bullets are fired — are most firearms on the marketplace, including hunting rifles. His contention with so-called assault semi-automatic firearms, like those before him, is that they are physically intimidating and scaring looking, just like one expert on CNN who deemed semi-automatic firearms “fully semi-automatic” in nature. This factual inaccuracy is embarrassing and by all definitions “fake news” for it is non-existent in firearms nomenclature.

Is Governor Bullock aware of this statement and the repercussions that will arise from it? Butchering ballistics terminology by conflating semi-automatic firearms with so-called assault weapons (which are fully-automatic in nature) shows the moderate governor really isn’t what he claims to be. He’s just another advocate for disarmament who fooled his constituency. He appears eager to align with national Democrats as he mulls a run for the presidency in 2020 (claims which he has repeatedly denied.)


In wake of the Parkland shooting, the presumed “moderate” Montana governor has taken steps to shed his supposedly pro-gun shell in support of more extreme gun restrictions that are out of the mainstream in the Treasure State. Back in May, he wrote he had a change of heart on universal background checks and wrote the following in USA Today: Here’s an excerpt of the column, emphasis on bolded parts:


Americans calling for protection of the Second Amendment want their families to be safe. I know because I’m a gun owner who believes in the Constitution, yet also recognizes its limits*. Two-thirds of Americans who own guns say one of the main reasons is to* protect themselves and their families.


If we approach gun violence from the shared value of protecting our families and focus on what we have in common rather than what divides us, I am convinced we can make meaningful progress. We need to work towards a society where mass shootings and schoolyard deaths are not onlyillegal, they are unheard of*.*


Let’s dispense with shiny objects intended to distract from the issue.Arming teachers is absurd; period*. Those licensed to carry concealed are not trained law enforcement officers, and we shouldn’t confuse the two. And mental health, while critically important for our nation to address, is a challenge requiring a separate set of solutions.*


Let’s focus on what works. Most gun owners are law abiding, yet too often guns get into the wrong hands*. That’s why the first step ought to be* universal background checks and cracking down on straw purchases of guns*.*


There are many issues with his statements from this supposed Constitutional-loving gun owner. First, there are already limits to gun ownership with basic background checks and disqualifying past criminal behavior for gun ownership. Second, committing mass murder, or any murder for that matter, is already illegal—but law-abiding gun owners get pinned for the evil wrongdoing committed by criminals. Third, he believes arming teachers is an absurd notion because he believes, like most disarmament proponents, that concealed handgun permit holders aren’t as trained as law enforcement. (Law enforcement in PennsylvaniaOhioMichiganFlorida, and even California, for example, want more concealed handgun permit holders to help them combat crime.) Fourth, regarding universal background checks, that would deter criminals from illegally obtaining firearms nor committing crimes. This is an enforcement issue, which can be fixed by reforming NICS.


If semi-automatic and fully automatic “assault” firearms are to be conflated with one another, then in the case of Montana, Bullock’s state, most hunting rifles would be banned from the market. Can you imagine how pissed Montanans would be by this move? Very pissed—so pissed, they may vote out all remaining Democrats in statewide office and replace them with folks who aren’t bamboozled by poorly thought-out, dangerous disarmament rhetoric. In a state that voted for Trump 56.2% to Clinton’s 35.7%, Bullock’s comments shouldn’t sit well with voters there. Montana is comprised of 335,000 hunters and anglers, who spend “$983 million annually and support 16,515 jobs”according to the Congressional Sportsman Foundation. Bad move, Governor Bullock.


Assault weapons and semi-automatic firearms shouldn’t be conflated with one another. You can learn the difference here.


Montanans should vote for people who broadly speak for them and don’t champion full disarmament—by voting for candidates unlike Bullock.

About the author

Gabriella Hoffman

Gabriella Hoffman is a media strategist based in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. She has written for The Resurgent since March 2016 and serves as their D.C. Correspondent.

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