Madison Cawthorn Criticized For Breaking Gun Safety Rules in Shooting Range Ad

A gun range commercial featuring Rep. Madison Cawthorn has been viewed over 170,700 times on Twitter, prompting online criticism over firearm safety and congressional ethics.

Cawthorn, a North Carolina Republican, was featured in an advertisement for Shooter's World, an Arizona shooting range and firearms retailer. Shooter's World shared the ad to their social media accounts on Christmas Eve.

The commercial first depicts footage of bullets, firearms, and people socializing with the 26-year-old congressman over a soft piano rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner." In the second half of the video, Cawthorn and others are firing guns inside the range.

Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Change our minds 😏Be sure to follow us on Instagram for more exclusive deals and content!👉🏻...

The ad was re-uploaded to Twitter by the PatriotTakes account—which is affiliated to liberal political action committee MeidasTouch—in a thread lambasting the participants' handling of the firearms. PatriotTakes' post went viral and leveled heavy criticism towards Cawthorn.

Democratic Representative and Iraq war veteran Ruben Gallego of Arizona said the ad amounted to an ethics issue, given that Cawthorn, a congressman, appears in a private company's promotional video.

"Besides the horrible weapons handling," Gallego tweeted. "This is on the verge of an ethics violation. Members of Congress aren't allowed to promote private companies," he continued. "Shooters World should have gotten permission from Cawthorn and Cawthorn should have asked the ethics committee."

According to Shooters' World's own rules, several safety violations were apparent in the video. Customers must sign a waiver on the company website adhering to these regulations before coming to to the range.

Throughout the ad, Cawthorn and other people can be seen shooting in rapid fire, a practice that is expressly forbidden in the range's rules. At one point, Cawthorn is filmed swiftly pulling a handgun out of a holster on his chest before shooting. According to Shooter's World, "Drawing from the holster is prohibited."

Later on, Cawthorn can be seen resting past the firing line as a woman shoots a rifle with some assistance, denoting that she is a novice. Shooter's World states that "No one is allowed in front of the firing line."

Newsweek has contacted Cawthorn and Shooter's World for comment.

Cawthorn, a gun rights advocate, has long spoken out in favor of bearing arms. Following 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse's not guilty verdict for shooting and killing two men in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Cawthorn called on followers to "defend yourself" in the aftermath of the polarizing trial.

"Be armed, be dangerous, and be moral," he said in a video, which was captioned with an internship offer to Rittenhouse. Cawthorn also previously said the Second Amendment "is so that if a tyrannical government ever wants to rise up, we can stop them."

On the day before the Shooter's World ad came out, Cawthorn announced his divorce from his wife, Cristina Cawthorn.

The congressman said the "hectic and difficult" pace of his political career factored into the detriment of his eight-month marriage.

Madison Cawthorn RNC/Shooter's World
Left: Madison Cawthorn addresses the Republican National Convention's virtual event on August 26, 2020. Right: Cawthorn fires a gun in a commercial for Arizona shooting range Shooter's World. Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images/Shooter's World