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Pundit’s Mailbag — Dale Peterson And The Obligation Of Politicians To Model Good Behavior

We headlined our piece focused on a campaign video by Dale Peterson, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Alabama Ag Commissioner, Watch the Winchester: Ad For Dale Peterson, Candidate For Alabama Ag Commissioner Goes Viral, and at least one sharp-eyed Pundit reader did, in fact, “Watch the Winchester”:

Did the Marines teach him to carry his rifle with his finger inside the trigger guard? I doubt it.

— Art Davis
VP Operations
Sholl Group
Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Dave Kopel, the Research Director for the Independence Institute and frequent blogger for the Volokh Conspiracy, which has occasionally linked to our work, critiqued the ad this way:

I don’t live in Alabama and I’m not a registered Republican. But if I were, this ad would convince me not to vote in the primary for Dale Peterson for Agriculture Commissioner.

Somebody who’s been a Marine, a cop, and a farmer ought to know elementary gun safety. Yet when Peterson takes out a rifle near the end of the video, he puts his trigger finger inside the trigger guard. I realize that the gun in the commercial is just a prop, and was almost certainly unloaded. However, the Agriculture Commissioner should model good behavior, and the viral ad itself, with over a million views, is a model of unsafe and irresponsible gun handling.

Perhaps most of the viewers know better than to handle a gun in the dangerous manner that Peterson does, but at least some viewers won’t know that what Peterson is doing is a violation of gun safety rules; some of them may think that he’s showing the normal way to carry a gun, and some of those viewers might one day attempt to carry a gun the way Peterson does. Accordingly, Peterson’s ad itself increases the possibility of accidents from unsafe handling of firearms.

Well, we said Dale Peterson was a long-shot and, indeed, he lost.

The front-runner in the Republican run-off is John McMillan. He promises, among other things, safe food. He has a gun as well and seems to have upped the ante with some kind of camouflage outfit.

As testimony to his eagle eyes, we are sending Art Davis a lovely gift pack of fresh carrots! Many thanks for catching the safety slip.

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