Soft-spoken and reserved, Washington 5th Legislative District candidate Jered Bonneau’s thick black beard is arguably the Republican’s most imposing feature.
To be fair, the 31-year-old Spokane Valley man’s AK-47 is nothing to sneeze at either.
Gun smoke filled the air and bullet casings covered the terrain of the Fishtrap shooting range Saturday as Bonneau hosted a “Shooting with the Candidate” event, where he and about 15 of his supporters ran through a gamut of handguns and rifles and discussed his platform, namely gun rights.
Classic rifles. Handguns. The much-discussed AR-15. Just about every type of legal firearm could be heard tearing though targets at the hillside shooting range 30 miles southwest of Spokane.
The attendees – men, women, military veterans and first-time gun shooters – took their shots with the aspiring politician, a staunch Second Amendment advocate.
“Any type of gun control is an infringement on our Second Amendment rights,” said Bonneau, speaking over the loud gunfire behind him. “People like (Parkland High student and gun control advocate) David Hogg and these parents are talking like we need to restrict our firearms and want to get rid of assault rifles.
“That would be an absolute infringement and I will not support anything like that. Guns weren’t just made to hunt. They were made to protect us, our property and protect us if our government became tyrannical.”
Bonneau describes his campaign as a grass-roots effort to preserve the country’s liberties, save the Constitution and bring Americans’ voices back to the hall of Congress.
A few of his causes include fathers’ rights, property rights, immigration reform, free trade and border security.
The self-described constitutionalist is aiming to unseat fellow Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and also faces rising Democratic candidate Lisa Brown. Both candidates have significant fundraising leads.
“I don’t want a Trump-Hillary kind of campaign. No personal attacks against my opponents,” said Bonneau, an Eastern State Hospital employee. “I just want to focus on me and the people I represent, but I will also fight for them.”
Though this will be the first time Bonneau has run for office, he said he has been involved in political activism for years, rallying on behalf of the Bundy ranchers.
And Bonneau believes he will get into office someday.
“My goal is to become a congressman. That is what my heart is set on and that’s what I am going to get,” he said. “If not this year, then 2020 or 2022.”