Democratic congressional candidate Rob Quist's recent attempt to identify with Montana gun owners may have backfired.
Quist, running in the special election race for Montana's lone seat in the House of Representatives, made several gun safety faux pas while loading and shooting his family's rifle in a new campaign advertisement.
The Montana candidate promised to protect his potential constituents' right to bear arms in the new video, shooting at what appeared to be an opposition ad displaying his picture.
Quist's show of solidarity with gun owners, however, contained "some pretty egregious gun safety violations," according to the head of a Montana gun group
"Mr. Quist is obviously not very familiar with firearms," Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) President Gary Marbut said, according to KGVO.com, the site of a local radio station.
"He does commit some pretty egregious gun safety violations that would not be committed by any 13 year-old kid who had graduated from a Hunter's Safety course," Marbut continued. "This tells me that the firearms video is just staged to impress people, but that's not really who he is."
Marbut listed several problems he saw with Quist's demonstration in his new ad, titled "Defend."
"First, he had his finger on the trigger when he wasn't prepared to shoot," Marbut said. The MSSA leader took issue with Quist shooting a picture of a person and pointing his rifle at the cameraman.
"All that shows that he's just not familiar with firearms and he needs to learn more about gun safety," Marbut said.
Quist's Republican opponent, Greg Gianforte, did a better job adhering to safety rules when he shot a gun in his ad "Grab," according to Marbut.
Marbut noted that unlike Quist, Gianforte did not shot at any photos of people. Gianforte also differed from Quist in that he kept his finger off the trigger guard when he was not shooting and wore eye protection.
"He was wearing eye protection when Quist was not, which is standard for any kind of shooting," Marbut said.
Marbut did say Quist's opponent left a bad example for viewers by leaving a "mess" with the computer screen he shot.
"But that's the only bad example I can see for watching viewers," Marbut added.
Quist declared during his ad that he would not stand by while Gianforte "attacked" his "Montana values." He similarly promised on his campaign site to bring "values of rural Montana" to Congress.
The Washington Free Beacon reported on Wednesday that Quist regularly performed for a nudist resort in Idaho. The resort's website featured Quist playing the guitar with his single daughter. Both were wearing clothes.
Gianforte led Quist by 15 points in a recent poll. The two are competing in a special election to replace former Rep. Ryan Zinke in the seat he vacated to become President Donald Trump's interior secretary.