A national champion competitive shotgunner and professional shooting instructor claims the recent criticism of a leading Republican presidential candidate’s handling of his shotgun during a news interview is “bogus,” and that footage of the interview clearly shows the politician is making sure those he’s speaking with are aware that the gun is safe and unloaded.

A recent story on the technology news website Gizmodo criticized Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz for his method of holding an over-under shotgun during an interview on a recent hunt in Iowa. The site called Cruz a “nincompoop” for holding the shotgun broken over his shoulder with the barrels pointed rearward, arguing he broke one of the fundamental rules of gun safety by not having the shotgun “pointed in a safe direction.”

“With an unknown number of people in front and presumably to his sides, the best way to carry his gun in this particular case would be to hold it sideways, low and pointed down,” Gizmodo wrote. “As such an outspoken gun rights advocate, Cruz should also consider himself an ambassador for gun safety, particularly when choosing to make a national TV appearance while carrying one.”

But well-known shotgun expert and owner of Optimum Shotgun Performance shooting school Gil Ash tells Grand View Outdoors Cruz was holding his shotgun properly and “showing the  world” his gun was safe.

“It’s impossible for the gun to discharge from that position … and he’s showing the interviewer and the cameraman that that gun is safe because it’s empty, and he’s showing the world at the same time that it’s safe, open and empty — and you can’t argue with that,” Ash said. “It is obvious that he has gun safety on his mind because he wanted to show that number one, the gun is open and in an un-fireable position, and at the same time show everybody that the barrels were completely empty which tells us that he’s thinking about gun safety.”

DEBATE FALLOUT: Sen. Ted Cruz has been outspoken in his criticism of the previous Republican presidential debate. Here’s what the Texas Senator suggested to change the process. #KPRC2MORE —> http://bit.ly/1k2K4vJ

Posted by KPRC2 on Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ash admits it’s better to carry a break-action shotgun over the shoulder, barrels forward in most cases — it’s more comfortable and you’re able to control the direction of the barrels more easily when you’re moving between other shooters or spectators. But he said that in this case, where Cruz is standing before interviewers and videographers, he’s doing it properly.

“It could be very easily said that Ted Cruz was going overboard,” Ash added. “And when carried that way, you can tell that that gun and that shooter is not only thinking about gun safety but he wants everybody around him to know that his gun is open, empty and safe — and you can tell that from over 100 yards away.”