Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is drawing national scrutiny after he appeared in the Old Shawnee Days parade in Johnson County on Saturday riding in a Jeep with a large machine gun replica mounted on it.
In a tweet after the parade, Kobach called the vehicle a “souped-up Jeep,” and posed with it. The gun appeared to be a .50 caliber machine gun. Kobach said the firearm was a replica.
Had a blast riding in the Old Shawnee Days Parade in this souped up jeep with a replica gun. Those who want to restrict the right to keep and bear arms are deeply misguided. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. #ksleg #ksgov #TeamKobach pic.twitter.com/ZULBEYTqUW— Kris W. Kobach (@KrisKobach1787) June 2, 2018
The City of Shawnee quickly released a statement on Twitter, apologizing and saying the float “in no way” reflected the city’s values.
"Please know that the safety of our residents is always our highest priority, and we apologize if this made anyone feel unsafe or unstettled," the statement said.
On Sunday, Kobach took to Twitter again to defend himself, calling the negative response to his gun display a “snowflake meltdown” and framing it as an attack on Second Amendment rights.
The outrage over the replica gun on the back of a patriotic jeep is the left trying to attack guns and your #2A rights. I will not back down in the face of a snowflake meltdown and outrage culture. https://t.co/FONJBWZWMM #ksleg pic.twitter.com/TEtyFtQ7rT— Kris W. Kobach (@KrisKobach1787) June 4, 2018
Chris Reeves, a member of the Democratic National Committee from Kansas, called the gun a “ridiculous weapon” and implied Kobach may have violated federal law by displaying it in public.
Jo Ella Hoye, head of the Kansas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told The Star that Kobach was "misguided." Moms Demand Action also had a float in the parade.
Kansas @momsdemand chapter leader: “Kobach is the one who is misguided regarding what national gun violence awareness day is or what people working to prevent gun violence are doing." #wearorange #ksleg https://t.co/w2a8CMk24u— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) June 2, 2018
A now-deleted tweet from the Kansas Division of Emergency Management read "Hey Kris, I think you are a bad guy with a gun. Also, maybe worse, you a dumb guy with a gun."
The Division later claimed on Twitter that its account had been hacked.
Good afternoon- KDEM suspects that this Twitter account has been hacked. We are working to resolve the issue.— KDEM (@KansasEmergency) June 3, 2018
Nicolas Telep is KCUR's morning news intern.