The elected official who in February raised money by raffling off an AR-15 is now taking aim at enemies of liberty by issuing fake ISIS hunting permits—"no bagging limit"—to supporters who chip in $15.
That official is Montana's lone congressman, Ryan Zinke, who is gearing up for his first reelection campaign in November.
The March 21 fundraising email doesn't say how Zinke would exterminate ISIS, but it does remind supporters eight times that their congressman was once a Navy SEAL. The email was sent out a day before the Brussels bombings, which probably boosted donations.
Similar ISIS hunting tags have been circulating online for a couple years. (In fact, Zinke's version looks almost identical to one sold on the website tacticalshit.com, which also sells a line of "I ♥ guns & titties" merchandise.) The whole joke is an old bumper sticker trope, along with "permits" to hunt unicorns, UFOs, zombies and the like.
Of course, ISIS is not fictional, and Zinke seems to want Montana voters to know he takes killing terrorists more seriously than other American leaders, especially President Barack Obama.
"I hunted terrorists and war criminals for decades," Zinke wrote. "I will never stop fighting for America and against radical Islamic terrorists. Once a SEAL always a SEAL. But now that I'm in Congress I need your help."
And yet the hunting permits don't offer enough red meat for some in Zinke's political base. When the campaign posted the fundraiser to Facebook, the first commenter (who described herself as a Zinke supporter) asked why anyone should even need a permit to hunt down America's enemies.
"We're at war with them, even if you boys in Congress haven't the balls to declare it, they have declared against us," the commenter wrote. "So, they're legit targets anytime any American comes across one. That's a reality of war, Sir."
The Zinke campaign's Facebook post shows one of the tags affixed to the front of a gun safe, which evokes another set of frightening scenarios. While campaign spokesperson Heather Swift points out the donation page carries a disclaimer clarifying the sticker is not a "government issued hunting tag," it doesn't exactly assuage concerns. What happens if one of the congressman's supporters slaps a sticker on a Muslim neighbor's mailbox? Who, then, gets charged with hate speech?