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Gunslinging candidate blasts GOP elephant in campaign ad

Estakio Beltran, a Democrat from Washington, fires at the Republican symbol with his shotgun in a new 30-second video.
A detail view of a pistol. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty)
A detail view of a pistol.

Another week, another politician firing a gun in a campaign video.

But this time, it's a Democrat blasting a paper mache elephant, the longtime symbol of the Republican party.

Estakio Beltran is one of two Democrats running for a congressional seat to represent his Republican-leaning district in Washington state. Critics refer to him as a "long shot" who won't win, he says in the 30-second video.

"But what happens to an elephant that stands around doing nothing for too long?" he asks as he shoots the piñata-like object, then rides off toward Washington, D.C., atop a donkey. Beltran faces nine Republicans in this year's primary election, set for Aug. 5.

Beltran isn't the only one fed up with GOP obstructionism. Obama this week also went on the offensive against Republicans who are criticizing him for not fulfilling his duties as commander-in-chief. "You know, it is lonely, me just doing stuff," the president said Thursday. "I'd love it if the Republicans did stuff too."

Last month, Americans gave Congress its lowest approval rating ever for a midterm election year. Just 16% of the public supported the lawmakers' performance, down from 21% during the previous midterms in 2010.

Other political candidates this year have also used their campaign advertisements to take aim at political symbols, though they have typically shot at copies of documents related to Obama and his policies.

Related: Candidates shoot at the government in ads

While 2014 is not the first year politicians have taken to firing guns in commercials, it's the first major election year since 26 people, including 20 children, were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Some pro-reform gun groups, such as Americans for Responsible Solutions, said such videos are "irresponsible" and "offensive," and request Beltran's ad be removed.

"This kind of misguided imagery and rhetoric on both sides of the political spectrum just furthers the lack of balance in our nation's debate about guns," said Americans for Responsible Solutions spokesperson Mark Prentice.