Earlier today, Rep. Mary Dunwell (D-HD84) demanded that the State Capitol Information Technology (IT) team require Rep. Braxton Mitchell (R-HD3) to remove a photo avatar on his personal Zoom account, which depicted her colleague holding an AR-15 semi-automatic sporting rifle.
Dunwell, an anti-gun advocate, had apparently felt unsafe while being “forced” to view a photo of America’s #1 rifle (by popularity and ownership figures). Mitchell, being congenial, removed the photo after being pressured by forces sympathetic to Dunwell’s complaint.
There is much confusion today regarding the AR-15 rifle, which is protected under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Although some use the firearm for self-defense (a cherished civil right under American and Montana law), the .556 NATO and civilian .223 round is popular with Montana ranchers and outdoorsmen for hunting and general pest control.
The AR-15 rifle is semi-automatic, with the same kind of action as other less-controversial sporting and hunting rifles. It is not a military rifle and is not characterized as an “assault rifle” by any technical standards. The action is not used by any known uniformed military personnel in the world, being relegated to purely civilian uses.
Rep. Dunwell’s “deplatforming” of Rep. Mitchell’s personal photo is telling; she seems to have a visceral dislike of both the First and Second Amendments. Censorship and Cancel Culture is never okay, and especially not on the floor of the Montana House across party aisles.
Those who have an irrational fear of firearms usually base their concerns on myths, superstitions, and relative ignorance of firearm safety. It is in the best interest of all Montanans – especially our legislators – to have a working grasp, familiarity, and appreciation of Montana’s gun heritage.
For this purpose, the Gideon Knox Group has gifted Rep. Dunwell with Gun: A Visual History book depicting the last 700 years of evolving firearm technology. It’s our hope that through visual depictions of firearms, Rep. Dunwell will learn to appreciate the tool that has kept America safe and fed since our inception.
Meanwhile, educating our elected representatives is everyone’s civil duty. We are requesting that Montanans send Rep. Dunwell polite, non-threatening, and appropriate photos of themselves with their firearms along with a brief explanation of the purpose of that particular firearm and what it’s used for.
Please, let’s flood Rep. Dunwell’s inbox with hundreds of images of our lawfully-owned firearms so that she will understand how truly non-threatening, purposeful, and utilitarian our firearm collections are in the Big Sky State.
Dunwell’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please, keep it non-threatening, polite, and appropriate! But if she’s that intimidated by mere images, it’s in her best interest to see that photographs don’t bite.