Presumably, he's not for the spread of grenade launchers and he may not support a radical wing of the NRA. Hopefully, he's for the reauthorization of the federal assault weapons ban, which is way overdue.
The 63-year-old Mantegna may not be a Hollywood A-lister, but he gets at least an A-. There's a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There was a role in one of the "Godfather" films and a voiceover role on "The Simpsons." He has a Tony for a performance in a David Mamet play. And he's a current lead on CBS hit "Criminal Minds." Mantegna is a recreational shooter, a member of a private gun club in California, who enjoys some skeet shooting, according to an interview he gave to ShotGunWorld.com a while back.
So, he hasn't exactly kept his pro-Second Amendment views private. Yet, it is still extraordinary and jarring when an actor of his stature is a vocal gun advocate, even for sport shooting.
Mantegna's advocacy is receiving a heightened platform as he begins hosting "MidwayUSA's Gun Stories" on the Outdoor Channel on Wednesday. The network is in only 35 million homes, so it isn't CBS, but still.
In a promotional interview, Mantegna says of his passion for recreational gun use: "I am an enthusiast and I am proud of it."
"Gun Stories" focuses on the history and intricacies of particular firearms. There are some firearms from yesteryear featured, but also "cutting-edge" types such as the "adaptive combat rifle," which sounds rather potent for a hunting weekend.
"I've been a very un-political person, actually, all my life ...," Mantegna said of his reasons for hosting. "And I think that was also part of the reason because I think I wanted to make the point that to understand the shooting sports -- whether it be target shooting, whether it be hunting, whatever it may be -- that people who embrace these things are not necessarily making a political statement."
He indicated that those participating in the "shooting sports" are often unfairly lumped in with some radical gun supporters, while they just appreciate exercising a Constitutional right.
"It's not about any sort of political leanings or anything else, except the right to keep and bear arms," he said.
He may be right for the most part, and Mantegna deserves some credit for being a straight shooter. But, some of his advocacy loses heft when the title sponsor of his show, MidwayUSA, is considered. The online retailer sells parts for AK-47 assault rifles, which can leave one a bit queasy.