But after the photo at the top of his post hit Twitter yesterday, Nolan was criticized by a gun rights group for trying to be a little too cool.
After we saw the photo, we reached out to Bryan Strawser, executive director of Minnesota Gun Owners PAC, and asked him if he took issue with Nolan's casual handling of the firearm.
"There's a definite gun safety issue with this," he replied. "The NRA's 4 Rules of Firearms Safety clearly states that you should 'always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.' In Minnesota, students as young as 12 learn this in Minnesota DNR hunter safety courses."
In a statement released later in the day, Strawser criticized Nolan for (allegedly) being insincere with his pro-gun posturing.
"It's nothing short of hypocritical for Mr. Nolan to be photographed at what appears to be a campaign event while holding an AR-15 rifle," Strawser said. "Despite claiming to be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Rick Nolan has advocated for bans on handguns and modern sporting rifles for nearly forty years. Mr. Nolan has specifically called for a ban on the very rifle he is holding in this photograph."
Strawser goes on to urge Nolan to take a firearms safety course.
"We would be happy to help him become a safe gun owner by covering the cost of a firearms safety course," Strawser said.
We touched base with Nolan's campaign, but they declined to comment.