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“Gundies” Awarded to Toxic Gun Influencers

The awards represent the strong ties between gun makers and troubling influencers

The fifth annual Gundie Awards were held on January 22, 2024, at the Venetian Theater the night before the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show began in Las Vegas. A play on the “Dundies” from The Office, the Gundies are presented to gun social media influencers, or “GunTubers,” after nominations from the public are voted on and tallied. The awards reflect the gun industry’s reliance on influencers who have gained millions of followers while contributing to a toxic gun culture.

The Gundies are sponsored by several members of the gun industry, including online retailer Brownells and gun makers Henry Repeating Arms and Palmetto State Armory. At the awards show, competitive shooter and Gundies presenter J.J. Racaza remarked that GunTubers “give us visibility beyond our industry. They push the content out there beyond what we can think of.”1CarbonTV, “The 5th Annual Gundie Awards,” 5th Annual Gundie Awardsndie-awards/seasons/1/episodes/1/, at 39:05.

Another sponsor is Gun Owners of America (GOA), a far-right gun group that opposes all firearm regulations. The organization’s senior vice president, Erich Pratt, even spoke at the awards show and said, “I want you all to know that all of us at GOA truly appreciate what you content creators do. You guys entertain, you educate, and you activate. And that last part I especially appreciate.”2CarbonTV, 5th Annual Gundie Awards, at 1:00:38.

GOA lobbyist Benjamin Sanderson also spoke of the power of social media influencers: “By rallying your audiences for every single fight, we’re restoring the Second Amendment one bill, one legal case, one fight at a time.”3CarbonTV, 5th Annual Gundie Awards, at 1:35:22.

Controversial winners

Brandon Herrera (aka “The AK Guy”), who won the Gundie for “Most Influential Male of the Year,” has created videos glorifying the weapons used by Nazis (including one video in which he calls a German machine gun “Kanye’s Buzzsaw,” a reference to West’s antisemitic rants) and Rhodesian soldiers, which have become a source of inspiration for white nationalists. Herrera has also appeared in videos with Lauren Southern, an alt-right personality who has called Black Lives Matter a “terrorist organization,” and Kyle Rittenhouse.

A screenshot of a Brandon Herrera video where he called a German machine gun "Kanye's Buzzsaw."
One of Herrera’s videos calls a German machine gun “Kanye’s Buzzsaw.”

During his acceptance speech, Herrera said, “It’s been really a humbling experience to go from someone who just made really fucked-up jokes on the internet to someone who continued to make fucked-up jokes on the internet. I appreciate you guys. We’ve done a great thing for the Second Amendment together, and I am excited to see what we can continue to do together.”4CarbonTV, 5th Annual Gundie Awards, at 1:10:30.

Liberty Doll, who won the Gundie for “Most Influential Female of the Year,” is a self-described libertarian vlogger who rails against “woke” ideologies, trans rights, commonsense gun regulations, and federal agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Liberty Doll has stoked fears that the government is spying on gun owners and confiscating firearms and ammunition. She’s also called the boogaloo movement a “tongue-in-cheek meme” and sells anti-ATF and boogaloo merchandise through her online store.

After winning her Gundie, Liberty Doll remarked, “I am thrilled to be bumping up a few spots on the extremist watchlist.”5CarbonTV, 5th Annual Gundie Awards, at 55:00.

Finally, Taran Butler accepted the Gundie for “Most Innovative Brand of the Year,” for developing a shotgun that was featured in John Wick 4, reflecting how the gun industry uses films and TV shows to market firearms. Butler is a competitive shooter who teaches actors like Keanu Reeves how to shoot guns and sells custom weapons — including the guns featured in the John Wick movies — through his company, Taran Tactical Innovations. He has also been accused of sexual harassment.

While accepting his Gundie, Butler said that he was “very blessed” to get his shotgun in John Wick 4. “It was awesome to see that gun just shredding in Hollywood.”6CarbonTV, 5th Annual Gundie Awards, at 1:41:20. He also noted that GunTubers “affect[] millions of people” and warned that they should “never fight against each other. We’re all in the same…war” against those who are “wrecking this country.”7CarbonTV, 5th Annual Gundie Awards, at 1:41:35.


Many other social media influencers who were nominated for Gundies are problematic if not downright dangerous, including:

  • Administrative Results, whose username is a play on Executive Outcomes, a private military company founded by former members of apartheid-enforcing South African death squads, was nominated for “Most Entertaining Content Creator.” Administrative Results  has cosplayed as Nazis and Rhodesian soldiers in videos, appealing to white nationalists.
  • Colion Noir — nominated for “Top 2A Voices of the Year” is a former NRA spokesperson and gun rights absolutist who has mocked the survivors of the Parkland shooting and regularly rails against commonsense gun safety solutions. He is one of the GunTubers that the Buffalo shooter watched, as discussed here.
  • Eric Blandford (aka Iraqveteran8888), a gun rights absolutist, conspiracy theorist, and state director for GOA, was nominated for “Top 2A Voices of the Year.”
  • Garand Thumb, another nominee for “Most Entertaining Content Creator,” reviews weapons and discusses military-style tactics and training. In his Discord diary, the Buffalo shooter claimed to have watched several of Garand Thumb’s videos in preparation for his attack, including those on low-cost training and “how to win a gunfight.” Garand Thumb has also glorified Rhodesian special forces in his videos.
  • Two children, ages 9 and 11, were both nominated for “Most Influential Female of the Year.”

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