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.

NEW: Gianforte Sentenced To 40 Hours Of Community Service

Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge on Monday and has been sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management. He must also pay a $385 fine.

Gianforte is guilty of entering into a physical altercation with Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs on the eve of Montana’s special House election. The at-large congressional seat was vacated by former Representative Ryan Zinke after he was appointed by President Trump to be the secretary of interior. The Republican was charged with assault just hours before the May 25 election was to begin.

Jacobs had approached then-candidate Gianforte at his campaign headquarters in Bozeman to ask about the GOP healthcare bill. Gianforte responded angrily by body slamming Jacobs to the floor and punching him. Jacob’s glasses were broken during the scuffle. The incident was caught on tape and corroborated by Fox News Reporters who were standing nearby.

Despite the onslaught of bad press that followed – and the state’s three largest newspapers withdrawing their endorsements – Gianforte still emerged triumphant on election night. He defeated Democrat and folk singer Rob Quist by a six-point margin.

“You accepted responsibility. You apologized,” stated Judge Rick West while handing down his sentence. The judge acknowledged Gianforte’s remorse and also noted the Republican tech millionaire’s business accomplishments during the hearing.

Judge West has taken some heat from the left for his apparent soft sentencing of the Montana Republican. While initially calling for Gianforte to serve four days in jail – believing he could complete a work program as an alternative to actual jail time – Judge West reversed himself upon learning that the assault charge was not eligible for the work program. West then opted for community service hours and a fine. In explaining his reasoning, West stated. “Being a congressman-elect, having to spend any time in jail isn’t something you should do.”

For his part, Gianforte is going above and beyond to make up for his transgression. In a addition to the $385 fine, Gianforte reached a settlement with Jacobs a week earlier where he agreed to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists – a worldwide nonprofit that protects journalists and promotes press freedom. Near the end of the court hearing on Monday, Gianforte spoke directly to Jacobs: “I just want to say I’m sorry, and if and when you’re ready, I look forward to sitting down with you.”

While the book is now closed for Gianforte regarding his criminal case – he isn’t completely out of the woods just yet. A group of press freedom organizations issued a complaint with congressional ethics officials on June 2. The Montana Republican could potentially face punishment from Congress.

 

Montana, Georgia Prove Laws of Politics in the Age of Trump

For seventeen months, I’ve heard how all the rules of politics have been thrown out the window. Polling, pundits and poobahs no longer rule. Now it’s the Age of Trump, where 4D chess is played between tweetstorms and threats of violence (or actual violence), they said.

But I’m ever more convinced it’s not really true. Montana, and the upcoming Georgia special elections have restored my confidence that nothing under the political sun has really changed.

We’re just measuring things wrong because we’re asking the wrong questions. The rules of politics still apply. If you’re a bad candidate running a poor campaign, you will lose. If you run against the popular will on “we care” issues of the electorate, you will lose. If nobody knows who you are and you let your opponent define you, you will lose.

If you don’t connect with voters in some meaningful way, you will lose. Whether that’s knocking on doors, going on television, sending mail pieces, or appearing in the media, a candidate has to get the word out, and stay on (some kind of) message.

What I’ve learned from Trump is that his message is Trump. Donald Trump sold and continues to sell himself, and he never stops selling. Hillary Clinton was a bad candidate who ran an insular, smug, and overall bad campaign. She couldn’t beat a candidate with more defects than a “Rolex” bought from a street vendor in Times Square.

I’ve been involved with running losing campaigns because the candidate wouldn’t listen to sound advice. Go out and knock on doors, listen to the internal polling, choose a message and stick to it. No, no and no. Even with lots of name recognition, the result is inevitable…they lose.

The media is attempting to paint a picture that big outside GOP money won the race for Greg Gianforte. A lot of outside money was spent on Ryan Zincke’s former seat–it set a record with about $12 million combined inside and outside money spent. But that didn’t win the race for Gianforte. Plenty of money was spent on Democrat Rob Quist, who decidedly lost.

Quist lost because he was not a viable candidate. He was the love child of Arlo Guthrie and Bernie Sanders–a socialist folk singer who appealed to the country liberals up in Big Sky. But he wasn’t going to win with that. In fact, without all the outside money, Quist would have lost even bigger.

He could have been helped by Gianforte’s terrible mauling of reporter Ben Jacobs, but two-thirds of the vote was locked in by mail before Election Day. It’s unclear even if the mail-in vote wasn’t a factor that Gianforte would have lost. Quist was just a non-viable candidate.

In Georgia, another record is about to be set for spending on a Congressional seat. Karen Handel is behind by about 7 points in the polls. Her Democrat opponent, Jon Ossoff, is a nobody supported by millions of Democrat dollars from outside. He should not be ahead, never mind outside the margin of error.

Handel has lost every race she’s run since she was Georgia Secretary of State. For this race, in her own home district, where she’s lived for 25 years, she has kept the same crew that lost her bid for governor, and for the U.S. Senate. They are making the same mistakes they made before. She’s running a poor campaign, which is unfortunate because she’s the better candidate. Not listening to advice, not connecting with voters will lose you the race.

So nothing has changed. It’s not about the outside money. It’s about about the violent Age of Trump. Trump ran a campaign only Trump could run. He was a unique black swan candidate, with 40 years experience selling himself, an incredible relationship with the media (for good or bad), and unsurpassed name recognition. He won because he ran against a terrible candidate who ran a terrible campaign.

Greg Gianforte won because he was a better candidate than Rob Quist, and he ran a fairly good campaign, beating his 2016 bid for governor numbers by 5 to 6 percent in most precincts. If Jon Ossoff wins in Georgia, it’s because he connected with younger voters and had a better message, and ran a more effective campaign than Karen Handel.

Handel may still win, and I hope she does. But ignoring the laws of politics, believing that the Age of Trump has changed everything, is a recipe for losing.

 

Montana Race Too Close To Call

With 45 percent of precincts reporting, the special congressional race in Montana is too close to call. Greg Gianforte (R) currently leads with 47.3 percent of the vote according to CNN. Democrat Rob Quist has 46.9 percent.

The two candidates are separated by less than 1,000 votes and most observers predict a long night ahead for the campaigns.

Democrats Claim Flop Sweat Victory in Montana

The first sign of Democrat panic in Montana is when they claim victory–even if they lose. Results haven’t even begun coming in and the flop-sweat odor is wafting through Democratic offices and friendly media.

From the Washington Post:

A win for the Democrat, cowboy-poet Rob Quist, would give his party its first major victory during the Trump presidency — and deliver a House seat held by Republicans for more than 20 years. A victory for Greg Gianforte, if narrower than President Trump’s 20-point victory last fall, would be spun as fresh evidence of GOP decline.

Gee, we lost, but by less than Hillary did to Trump, so it’s a win! Even with an assault charge and an embarrassing last day for Greg Gianforte, Democrats have their spin machine ready for a big loss.

This is the first sign of their panic.

Young Conservatarian Montana Lawmaker Could Be Your Next Congressman

With Rep. Ryan Zinke vacating his seat to join Trump’s administration as the next Secretary of Interior, the at-large Congressional seat he occupies will be open after January 20th, 2017, if and when he’s confirmed. There are six Montana lawmakers – both Republicans and Democrats – potentially vying for that seat. One of the potential candidates is 29-year-old Montana State Representative Daniel Zolnikov.

Zolnikov is currently serving his third term as State Representative for Montana’s 45th District. First elected in 2012, Zolnikov has risen to prominence in the state for his work on privacy issues and constitutional rights. According to his website, he has “successfully passed laws requiring government to get a warrant in order to access cellphone location information, protect reporters’ electronic communications from government intrusion, and give immunity from MIP laws to minors who seek emergency medical attention.” Recently, Zolnikov led the effort to bring Uber to Montana.

What best explains Daniel’s penchant for freedom-minded issues? He says it’s his family background. His father’s family fled Stalin-era Russia for Iran, where his dad was born. Zolnikov’s father then came to the U.S. as a political refugee.

Despite his libertarian accolades, Zolnikov’s voting record affirms he has sound cultural conservative views as well. He was recently awarded a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union and received a 90 percent rating from the Montana Family Foundation. Moreover, NARAL Montana and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana gave him 0 percent and 20 percent ratings, respectively. During the 2016 presidential primary cycle, he supported Rand Paul and later served on Ted Cruz’s Montana Leadership Team. He endorsed Gary Johnson following the primary. More notably, he has been honored as a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient for his work in Montana’s legislature.

This is a politician both libertarians and conservatives could get behind — especially on the national level.

The up-and-coming Millennial politician has yet to make a formal bid for the at-large Congressional seat, but was kind enough to allow The Resurgent to ask him some questions. Below is my interview with Mr. Zolnikov:

TR: Tell our readers more about your background and what led you to run for office in Montana.

DZ: I was interested in politics for numerous reasons. From an early age, I realized there were problems in the world (and country and state). I grew up in a rural town in Montana that had a very limited economy. To put it into perspective, a high school kid who showed up with a “new” car that was only five-years-old was considered spoiled. It was the life of having what was needed, not wanted. So when I learned about the government’s excessive spending in our government class, the massive amount of debt we had was incomprehensible to me. I seriously couldn’t (and still can’t) wrap my head around it! I was so awestruck by this excessive spending, my high-school term paper’s topic was on the national debt.

While sitting in this same high-school government class, I realized that winning a legislative seat was very possible. All I needed was the majority of the vote, and with only 50-60% turnout, winning an election was very possible if I knocked enough doors. Years later, this concept proved true.

I ran for office, not because I believed I knew more than other elected officials (most who are twice my age) but because I believed I could take bold stands and add a necessary perspective. In other words, I thought most politicians were spineless. Like most people, I am a very imperfect human being. Instead of acting like a facade, I wanted to be real, which included owning my flaws. Believe it or not, this viewpoint allowed me to actually make my politics and perspective relatable to voters, instead of pretending to be this.

I recently won my third election to Montana’s legislature. In the last five years, I have dedicated over one year of my life knocking on doors. I have worn out multiple pairs of shoes and have had thousands of conversations.

TR: There is great chatter surrounding you potentially running to fill Rep. Zinke’s seat . If you decide to run and do win, what issues will you promote on Capitol Hill? Will you join committees like the House Freedom Caucus and newly-restarted Second Amendment Caucus?

DZ: I believe our overspending is the largest long-term national security risk our country faces. It has taken decades of intense overspending to get us where we are today. It will take us decades of decreased spending to start paying off the debt. This will not be done without public support. In Congress, I would continuously identify and message our government’s insane spending methods and how ridiculously out-of-touch our federal executive branch is with the rest of the country.

Congress needs a cultural shift. I have worked extremely hard to be a positive person, and find the good in every situation. In some situations, the effort is futile, but overall it has been a leadership game changer. I believe this is completely necessary to find commonalities and actually achieve results (like cutting wasted spending and protecting our civil liberties).

I would most likely fit in with the liberty caucus and as a solid Second Amendment supporter, would identify with the Second Amendment Caucus as well. I would also like to be a liaison between the conservative leadership and the liberty caucus. I have seen too much infighting in Republican politics in Montana. All it leads to is bitter relationships and wasted resources. Our Congress can do better.

One way that our politicians are out of touch with the majority of voters is their salary. I would gladly only take the average U.S. wage of roughly $50,000 as a Congressman. I firmly believe in putting my money where my mouth is. I’m already known as a couch surfing legislator, so I would just bring this concept to the federal level.

TR: You’re a Millennial, liberty-minded politician who understands the issues and garners a lot of good attention. Politicians are traditionally old, stuffy, and boring–you’re clearly the opposite. How important is it to have irreverent politicians who are principled yet action-oriented?

DZ: I have had multiple conversations this week with people who are interested in running for office. The interest is there, the resources are not. Once people realize that someone as normal as me can do it, they stop asking if and start asking how. Empowering the people!

Another issue I continuously hear is how some people are worried about the skeletons in their closet. Sadly, a lot of folks don’t realize that we all have them! Someone who hasn’t done something stupid hasn’t lived. And most skeletons people are concerned about are actually minor.

TR: How can other young people get encouraged to run for office? Why should more young people be involved in the public policy/political process?

DZ: A diverse Congress better represents a diverse country. I love being a millennial with a passion-driven mentality. We literally think different than previous generations, and we want to see politics change. But we have to have candidates run for office to actually win seats so it is up to us to step up and run for local and statewide offices. Put your name in the hat and go knock on doors. You’d be surprised how few people actually run and how easy it is to stand out and get support by being younger.

Congress could certainly benefit from having a fresh, principled perspective like Daniel’s. To connect with State Rep. Zolnikov, follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

BREAKING: Outdoorsman Ryan Zinke Selected Secretary of Interior

Congressman Ryan Zinke of Montana is reportedly being tapped to lead the Department of Interior.

This is breaking news per POLITICO:

President-elect Donald Trump has offered the interior secretary position to Montana’s freshman Rep. Ryan Zinke, an ex-Navy Seal commander, according to two transition officials and someone familiar with the offer.

It was previously reported that Cathy McMorris Rodgers would serve in this role. Zinke, if confirmed, will succeed outgoing secretary and former REI CEO Sally Jewell.

Zinke has voted to preserve Montana’s public lands for fishing, hunting, and use by outdoor enthusiasts. He also sat on the House Committee for Natural Resources. Zinke is also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment:

 

The Secretary of Interior is responsible for overseeing America’s natural resources–including oil and gas.

One thing is for sure, the new Department of Interior must allow for safe offshore drilling off of America’s coasts. This pick is not only a win for regular Americans, but for outdoorsmen and sportsmen too.