Representative Zinke Encourages the Militia, Displays Boundless Hypocrisy

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As a community in Oregon has had to shut down its schools because a band of self-described patriots who’ve been fed a steady diet of anti-government rhetoric has chosen to “occupy” a federal facility, Montana’s Congressman Ryan Zinke gave them comfort, arguing today that the Commander-in-Chief and President of the United States was a tyrant. According to Commander Zinke:

President Obama’s action to limit law-abiding Montanans’ Second Amendment rights is no surprise given his tyrannical record, but it should still worry every American who values their rights and liberties – whether that be the right to free speech, free press, privacy, protection from illegal search and seizure, or any other enshrined in the Constitution. Barack Obama is the president, not the king.

Zinke, who no doubt composed his statement days before Obama announced his initiatives, might have some trouble explaining the horrifying threat the Obama proposal entails: the radical notion that law enforcement should mandate background checks required by law and the even more authoritarian decision to adequately staff those checks. Obama, that tyrant, thinks that the FBI should check to ensure that people who have not committed crimes or who suffer from mental illness that should disqualify them from gun ownership shouldn’t be able to get them.

The horror.

Zinke’s histrionic pandering to the gun lobby and gun nuts would be bit more compelling had Zinke not, in the past, endorsed more restrictions on guns than the President introduced today. In 2008, Zinke had a 42% rating from the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund. That same NRA initially responded to President Obama’s proposals with a shrug, telling the New York Times that there was nothing in the proposal:

“That’s it, really?” They’re not really doing anything.”

Most pertinent to today’s discussion is Zinke’s position on background checks. When asked in 2008 if background checks be required on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows, Zinke stood down tyranny and answered: “Undecided.”

You don’t have to believe me or even the NRA. Ask Montana Republicans, who know that Zinke did not endorse the right’s view on the Second Amendment.

Former Congressman Rick Hill said of Zinke that he couldn’t be trusted on the Second Amendment, and noted that he had an 8% rating from the Montana Shooting Sports Association.

Montana’s chief gun advocate Gary Marbut had this to say about Mr. Zinke in 2014:

When Zinke was in the Legislature, he and I had two or three spirited conversations wherein he voiced the strong opinion that .50 caliber rifles are far too dangerous for civilians to be allowed to own. He felt very strongly about that then. Then, about the time he announced his candidacy for the U.S. House, he sent me a card saying he’d changed his position on .50 caliber rifles. Yes, a sudden, election season conversion.

So, there you have it. While the Montana press dutifully prints Zinke’s anti-government, anti-logic screed today, what they won’t tell you is that Mr. Zinke has endorsed gun control in the past, has waffled on background checks, and offers the most egregiously childish attacks on the President because he knows he won’t get called out on them.

Meanwhile, more kids get shot in our schools and more militia wannabes can point to statements like those offered by our member of Congress to support their acts of insurrection.

It’s repugnant.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

9 Comments

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  • This what we have come to see with the GOP over and over again. Lies. Lies and more damn Lies.

    NO One is taking away your guns. Thanks to the President, here are some of the people who will no longer be able to buy, at gun shows, from people who sell guns for a living:

    Felons, Fugitives, Drug Addicts, Involuntary Mental Institution Patients

    HOw is protecting people from these future assholes Tyranny??? Why would GOP elected officials and their Republican Base want these kind of people to be able to buy guns at gun shows, or over the internet?

    How is the President’s action making it harder for “law-abiding citizens” to buy guns? Any background check system that is better at pointing out the above named infringers should be welcomed.

    Isn’t the real choice to not have a system with loopholes so large you could float a battleship through, Isn’t it to have a system that works for everyone involved who wants to be safe.

    I want a system that works. And I want to put people on all sides of the debate at ease.

    The Majority of Americans, over 90% want better background checks. this includes the sane gun owners….why are we listening to politicos like Daines and Zinkie who don’t give a crap whether your children Die of Gun Violence, as long as they get their continued contributions from the NRA.

    I gotta tell you honestly The personal right to own a gun was established in a Supreme Court decision called Heller v. D.C. Here is what that decision said about this subject:

    “[N]othing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

    Yep this seems pretty clear to me. no matter how complete imbeciles argue their 2nd Amendment rights. Lets also not forget the words “Well Regulated.”

    • Obama’s words Norma, in June of 2015.

      ““When Australia had a mass killing – I think it was in Tasmania – about 25 years ago, it was just so shocking the entire country said ‘well we’re going to completely change our gun laws’, and they did. And it hasn’t happened since.” …

      “I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress,” he said. “And I don’t foresee any real action until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, ‘This is not normal, this is something that we can change and we’re going to change it’.”

      Sounds like gun confiscation is the goal to me.

  • I have two guns and I am still waiting for President Obama to knock on my door to take them away. Are you still waiting for him like I am? I think we will have a long wait you morons.

      • Its not about guns its about my God given rights, that are given to me by God not a government or a man. If this one can be restricted or taken away then so can the out 9 somehow out of safety for us. Have you read the Bill of Rights? Do you know the contract the People have with OUR Representative form of government? You cant change thing “just because Congress doesn’t do what you think they should”. We have the an idiot in the White House!

        • So there are no permissible limits on any of the amendments in the Bill of Rights? I mean, the First Amendment is absolute in its text while is the Second is not. By your logic, is every law Congress has passed restricting free speech an illegal violation of your God-given rights?

          I’d love to hear your answer.

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