Shawnee issues apology after Kobach’s replica machine gun causes stir at Old Shawnee Days Parade

Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach next to the vehicle he rode in the Old Shawnee Days Parade promoting his bid for governor. The city of Shawnee received a wave of complaints about the replica machine gun on the Jeep. Photo credit Kris Kobach for Governor.

The city of Shawnee issued a statement apologizing for the “concern and frustration” expressed by some attendees of the Old Shawnee Days Parade on Saturday after seeing Sec. of State Kris Kobach riding on a Jeep mounted with a replica of a military machine gun.

“In no way does this or any parade entry or float directly reflect the views and values of the City, the Old Shawnee Days Board or the Old Shawnee Days Society,” read the statement, issued by the city and also attributed to the Old Shawnee Days Board and the Old Shawnee Days Society. “Again, we apologize and understand the concern this caused.”

Saying that it would be “taking steps in the future to try to ensure something similar does not happen again,” the city noted that “the safety of our residents is always our highest priority and we apologize if this made anyone feel unsafe or unsettled.”

Kobach’s parade vehicle, a Jeep adorned with American flag imagery and mounted with what appears to be a World War II-era machine gun replica, caused an immediate stir as it made its way down the parade route on Nieman Road and Johnson Drive, with several attendees posting criticisms of the display on social media.

Following Shawnee’s statement, Kobach posted his own message, saying the gun was part of a patriotic display.

“The outrage over the replica gun on the back of a patriotic jeep is the left trying to attack guns and your #2A rights,” read his message. “I will not back down in the face of a snowflake meltdown and outrage culture.”

The incident has now attracted attention from the national media, with outlets from CNN to Breitbart News, where Kobach is a columnist, covering the controversy.