On Automatic Weapons and Political Ads

Left: Jesse Kelly for Congress ad; click for larger version

My eye caught this banner advertisement this morning for the Jesse Kelly for Congress campaign. What intrigued me was not the fact that this United States Marine Corps combat veteran played up his military record, but rather that this advertisement featured Kelly posing with an automatic weapon.

The weapon appears to be an assault rifle, perhaps an M4 carbine or an M16A2 assault rifle. Ostensibly this is an image from Kelly's tour of duty in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Kelly is challenging Arizona Democrat Gabrielle Giffords from the U.S. House of Representatives. His platform is fairly typical for GOP candidates this year: against the recently passed health care bill, for smaller government, supports the overseas wars, for a double border fence with Mexico, and pro-life.

A scan of Google Images resulted in another Kelly advertisement with his rifle:

Left: Jesse Kelly for Congress ad; click for larger version

Clearly Kelly wants to promote the idea of the "warrior in Congress" that his advertisements reinforce. Setting aside the militancy in the ads, I have been scratching my head trying to think of another example of a political advertisement that featured a candidate with some form of weaponry. Theodore Roosevelt and his "Big Stick" comes to mind, but after this I am drawing a blank (pun intended).

I am not inclined to suggest that in this political environment a gun-waving strategy would hurt, though I have some reservations about whether this is a responsible ad (note to driveby posters: I am pro-Second Amendment, so do not start with the "typical liberal" rants). I am rather curious if this is an aberration, a long-standing tradition, or a new trend in which we will see many more arms-bearing political candidates.

If you think of any examples, please post them in the Comments section, and add an image link if you do find some.

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