Kris Kobach Just Went on Parade With a Machine Gun

It was a replica, but the stunt didn’t go over well at a family friendly event.

Pete Marovich/ZUMA

It is tradition for candidates for political office to spend their weekend mornings marching in small-town parades, shaking hands and kissing babies. But on Saturday, Kansas Secretary of the State Kris Kobach—who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor—did it with a twist: He rode the Johnson County Old Shawnee Day Parade in a red-white-and-blue Jeep…with a five-foot-long replica machine gun on top.

Yes, really:

Kobach’s stunt didn’t go over so well. The city of Shawnee, Kansas, which hosted the parade, issued a statement distancing itself from the secretary of state: “In no way does this or any parade entry or float directly reflect the views and values of the City, the Old Shawnee Days Board or the Old Shawnee Days Society.” A local pastor wrote on Facebook that “[t]here was an audible gasp from the parents seated around us (whom we did not know) when he drove by and attempts to distract their children,” and called the stunt “completely unnecessary and insensitive and out of place at this family friendly event.”

Kobach, an architect of the national self-deportation movement and a leader of voter suppression tactics who was recently held in contempt of court for violating a judge’s order to register voters, is an ardent gun-rights advocate. But the second amendment doesn’t actually cover machine guns, which are highly regulated and extremely difficult to legally own in the United States.