When Bundy Cobb arrived at the courthouse in Douglas County, Georgia, to vote early, he was wearing the baseball cap he dons to advertise his firearms-training business, Aim True Defense. The cap bore the words “NRA Instructor,” which poll workers said was considered campaigning. They made him take off his cap.
Outraged, Cobb contacted Fox 5 in Atlanta. “It’s definitely not campaigning,” said Cobb, who is certified by the National Rifle Association in firearms training. “And it’s absolutely infringing on my rights to express myself. All this hat does is advertise that I’m an instructor for, certified by NRA and that’s all. It doesn’t endorse any candidate or anything else.”
Douglas County Board of Elections Supervisor Laurie Fulton admitted the NRA is not aligned with a particular candidate. “But,” she told Fox 5, “the courts have found that anything that suggests associated with the NRA in many people’s perceptions is associated with the Republican Party. So in an overabundance of caution, Mr. Cobb was asked to remove the hat so that no one could interpret that we were favored, playing any favoritism toward one party over the other.”
The Daily Caller reported that Cobb alerted the State Election Board, “which, he told TheDC, is investigating the case.”
TheDC contacted Fulton and asked about her Fox 5 interview:
But reached for further comment, Fulton couldn’t cite the court case she alluded to and told TheDC that there was no clear precedent at the state level prohibiting NRA apparel.
Instead, Fulton said that the policy came about after she consulted a colleague following an incident that took place in Douglas County earlier this week.
“It started earlier in the week when a voter complained to me about a hat a man was wearing [an NRA hat],” Fulton told TheDC.
Like Cobb, that man removed his hat after being asked.
“I consulted with one of my contemporaries in another county,” Fulton said. They determined that the NRA hat “fell under the same sort of grey area” as a ruling that barred voters from wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” t-shirt, Fulton said, citing apparel that is popular among tea party and other similar groups.
Fulton was unable to recall if that ruling came from the Georgia Supreme Court or the state election board.