Culture Wars /

Insect Expert Removes Fully Automatic Rifle From Military Vehicle 'In The Name Of Public Safety'

'Guess the truck could've been mine, too.'

Marianna Wright, the executive director of the National Butterfly Center, admits to entering a vehicle she knew was operated by military personnel, removing a firearm, and transporting it to her place of work.

“In the name of public safety, I removed the weapon from the abandoned, unlocked vehicle on the side of the road & secured it in [the] National Butterfly Center where Texas National Guard was able to reclaim it,” Wright said. “The idiots didn’t even realize it was missing when they returned to the truck.”

The National Butterfly Center — as the name suggests — is a butterfly sanctuary and does not purport to specialize in handling firearms, especially those with selective fire modes. It is unclear why Wright, who personally expressed little knowledge of firearms after taking the weapon, did not notify the police and wait for them to arrive but instead opted to remove the gun from a vehicle she knew was operated by the Texas National Guard.

The conservatory operator claims that the “feds were apprised in real-time” and later came to claim the rifle. It’s unclear whether the officials she allegedly spoke to authorized Wright to remove the weapon — an M4 variant — but she later uploaded a picture displaying the rifle in her office with the selective fire showing the safety (“SAFE”) on, but able to be toggled to a fully automatic position (“AUTO”). It’s also unclear whether the rifle was loaded while she handled and transported it. According to Wright, the weapon was retrieved by the National Guard 40 minutes later.

People reacting to her post were quick to point out that Wright had seemingly admitted to breaking a number of laws potentially including tampering with a vehicle, theft, and illegal possession of a fully automatic rifle.

Unfazed by repeated warnings from other users about the legality of her actions, Wright continued to boast about her exploits. “Today, I got my hands on a fully automatic weapon thanks to the stupid, irresponsible Texas National Guard who left their vehicle running & unlocked with guns inside on the side of the road,” she said. “Guess the truck could’ve been mine, too.”

Twitter users were generally critical of the move, with one offering Wright some simple advice. “You realize that if they saw you stealing their weapons and they shot you, they would’ve been completely justified in doing so. For future reference, do not take a soldier’s weapon. You wouldn’t take a police officer’s weapon, would you?”

Another user with the handle PaulGiandomeni1, who said he was a retired lieutenant colonel with the National Guard, said that the “method was questionable.” Still, he argued that involving law enforcement would have more severe consequences for the guardsman who left his weapon unsecured, and Wright was inadvertently doing them a favor.




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