Pro-Gun Missouri Senate Candidate Suspended From Twitter for Gulag 'Joke'

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PHOTO COURTESY OF GAGE SKIDMORE / FLICKR

Pro-gun zealot Austin Petersen has really done it now. The Missouri Senate candidate was just in the spotlight last week when he promised to give away via raffle a machine that makes untraceable guns, but that might not even be the worst move he’s made in July.

Before his gun machine announcement, Petersen’s biggest claim to fame was that he was the runner-up for the Libertarian Party's nomination for President in 2016 (that’s like bragging that your softball team almost made it to the regional semi-finals), but on his own website even his professional biographers chose to downplay this in favor of instead advertising that Petersen was raised near a town called Liberty. Wow.



These days, Petersen is running as a Republican, trying to block the party establishment from coronating its candidate of choice, Josh Hawley. Doing that will require no small amount of derring-do — not only is Hawley getting direct help from the Republican National Committee, Donald Trump and Mike Pence, but his primary opponents are so numerous as to split the outsider vote. What's a guy to do to stand out?

Apparently, Lil’ Petersen figured out that it was on trend to go after the “enemy of the people.” So he tweeted some foolish shit at a journalist. And in a move that Petersen’s press people later said was the “social media giant’s most recent attempt to silence conservative voices,” the tweet resulted in the chipmunk-cheeked politician being temporarily suspended from Twitter.



KCTV reports that Petersen was banned from Twitter for twelve hours — after replying to a series of tweets by writer Caroline Orr that implied that he might’ve been tight with the Russian hackers who targeted his opponent, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), because both Petersen’s organization and Russian hackers use Bitcoin.

Orr’s argument was stupid (correlation does not always imply causation, people). But Petersen did what many morons in government with no shame or impulse control would do: he tweeted back with something even more stupid. In this case, it was a GIF of former Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin with the phrase "off to the Gulag.”

After a bunch of Twitter users reported him and Petersen was booted from the site, he issued a statement whining about it and said that his response was a just “humorous photo of Stalin waving.”

That’s what they always say when they get caught, isn’t it? These dorks get all upset about something that somebody says, then after they reply and bring shame on themselves, they say that they were joking, anyway. Actually, it’s usually more like, “Don’t be so sensitive you libtard snowflake, you gotta #walkaway because words can’t hurt you.”

Do you know what can hurt you, though? Guns. And Petersen is firmly on the scarier side of what is currently one of the hottest debates in the country: the issue of 3D-printed guns.

Just this morning, ten state Attorneys General filed a lawsuit to block the publication of blueprints for 3D-printed guns. These blueprints, of course, would still be available to anyone who knows how to access the dark web, but blocking the publication of the blueprints would prevent the average citizen from easily downloading and producing their own cheap, untraceable, unlicensed and undetectable-by-metal-detector firearm.

So, to summarize: Petersen is against reasonable gun regulations but in favor of joking about sending journalists to labor camps. We’d say we were embarrassed that he’s from Missouri, but we wouldn’t want our words to hurt his little feelings.

Email the author at jaime.lees@riverfronttimes.com
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