Setting the Record Straight – Gianforte/Bullock
Dear MSSA Friends,
I just heard an ad on the radio by green decoy group Montana Conservation Voters. This is a group philosophically aligned with the Montana Democrat Party that pops up every election cycle to try to fool gun owners and hunters into believing whatever blather this decoy group is currently offering, and generate cover for anti-gun political candidates. Otherwise, this group has no known activity in Montana. As far as I know, the group doesn’t “conserve” anything (except anti-gun and anti-hunting candidates).
The ad I heard was an attack on Greg Gianforte, the MSSA-endorsed candidate for Governor. I don’t have time to cover it all, and you probably don’t have the patience to hear it all, but let me hit just three high points.
The ad refers to Gianforte as a “New Jersey billionaire.” Well, it’s true that Gianforte did live in New Jersey for a couple of years, and that he did sell his company for over a billion dollars. Gianforte lived in New Jersey for a couple of years, before he and wife Susan moved to California, which was before they settled in Montana 40 years ago to take up Montana ways and raise their children here. So, Gianforce is a Montanan by choice, not by accident of birth as Bullock is. And, Gianforte made his billion HERE IN MONTANA, not in New Jersey. And, Gianforte made his money the old-fashion way, by starting a business in his garage and spending long, hard-working days, months and years nurturing that business into a tremendous success, ALL HERE IN MONTANA. In accusing Gianforte of being a “New Jersey billionaire,” they conveniently fail to mention that the last place Bullock lived before he came back to Montana to run for Attorney General, I hear, was in Washington, D.C. So, we might ask as well, do we want a professional politician from Washington running Montana?
The ad speaks of Gianforte’s “mansion” near Bozeman, trying to trigger what economist Gary North calls the “politics of envy.” When MSSA volunteer Elisa was doing her recent MSSA membership tour of Montana (thanks Elisa), she stayed for a couple of days with the Gianfortes. She called me about the Gianforte home. Elisa was surprised and told me, “Gary, this place isn’t a ‘mansion.’ It’s just a house. They keep it nicely, but it’s just an average house.” I told her that first-generation money people (the people who earned it the hard way) tend to be frugal and not ostentatious.
The ad accuses Gianforte of suing the people of Montana to exclude them from his property. Well, this too is a considerable exaggeration. There was a question about the title to some of the property where the Gianfortes live. Gianforte could not get that resolved without a judge’s signature on the resolution document. Judges don’t just sign things without people going through some sort of formal process. In the case of land title questions, that process in law is called a “quiet title” action. It must be filed in court and all interested parties must be afforded an opportunity to be heard on the matter. That’s what Gianforte did, something thousands of Montana landowners have also done to resolve title questions. Excluding people was never the object. Heck, Gianforte has always allowed, even invited, fishermen to access the adjacent river via his property. There was never any discussion of excluding people until Bullock or his supporters latched onto this to try to make it sound like something it wasn’t.
Well, now you know the “rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say. Thanks for letting me vent about this.
The election for Governor will probably be close, so please make sure ALL of your friends have voted, and remember the truths above about MSSA-endorsed Greg Gianforte.
Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana