Gary Marbut has gone full Gary Marbut.
In an interview with the Washington Post, the head of the Montana Shooting Sports Association and the person regarded as Montana’s preeminent gun expert by the Republican members of the Montana Legislature said the answer to mass killings is more shootings:
Gary Marbut says Americans would be a lot safer if everyone owned a gun.
“The bad people would gradually be eliminated from the population by the multitude of good people who are armed,” he said days after a weekend of mass shootings left 31 dead and sent shock waves across the country.
This explicit call for murder is the apotheosis of Marbut’s career-long advocacy for vigilantism.
It should hardly be surprising that the man who has made a career calling for guns in banks, bars, and schools and opposing employers restricting gun possession at their worksites would advocate mass murder of the “bad people,” but I was shocked that Marbut would go this far this openly.
Marbut is the human embodiment of the conservative macho fantasy that, given the opportunity, these armed heroes who have thus far only taken down conspicuously unarmed deer, could immediately size up a potential crime scene, determine the perpetrator, and calmly drop him with one well-placed shot.
It’s a breathtakingly ignorant take, one that the events in Philadelphia last night illustrate. Despite constant, frequent training, the Philadelphia police suffered six casualties and were pinned down for hours by a single gunman.
Imagine what would happen if the police arrived on a scene after three Marbutian heroes opened fire: how could the police determine who was the criminal and who were the armed heroes of fragile masculinity exercising their Second Amendment rights? How, in fact, would the second hero on the scene determine that the first was not the criminal gunman?
Marbut bears special responsibility for scenarios like these. Back in 2015, he demonized law enforcement officers, suggesting that federal law enforcement officers could not be trusted to follow the law in Montana.
And, though Marbut tried to distance himself from the horrific killing of the German exchange student Diren Dede in 2014, his killer cited the revision to the Stand Your Ground law authored by Marbut as justification for his act of murder.
Perhaps Gary Marbut believes he has the innate ability to determine who the “bad people” are, but his advocacy in the Post suggests that widespread “eliminations” is reckless beyond imagining.
In fact, in 2004, Marbut testified in another trial that someone was justified when he shot someone in the back for breaking into his car:
Marbut testified in 2004 at the Missoula trial of Samuel Yates, who was convicted of shooting 17-year-old Randy Brown in the back after Brown broke into his car. At the time, Marbut argued that Yates was justified in shooting because Brown was close enough to pose a threat.
“For a thousand years, our religious and ethical codes have always understood that a person who was at risk for serious bodily injury could defend themselves, including taking a human life,” Marbut said. “Because an assailant may not respect your request to please not kill you until the police come to sort it out, that resort has to be immediate. How long does that take for someone to stab you with a knife, compared to police response times?”
It’s time to stop writing gun policy based on macho posturing and NRA fearmongering. It’s time to let public health research dictate public health policy.
And it’s time for the Montana Legislature to stop listening to Gary Marbut.