A Republican congressman has been criticised for posting a picture of himself and his family posing with guns, just days after four teenagers were killed in a high school shooting in Michigan.
“Merry Christmas! Ps Santa, please bring ammo,” the US Representative for Kentucky, Thomas Massie, wrote on Twitter.
The post included a picture of Mr Massie and his family holding firearms in front of a Christmas tree.
Merry Christmas! 🎄
ps. Santa, please bring ammo. 🎁 pic.twitter.com/NVawULhCNr
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 4, 2021
The weapons on display include guns resembling an M60 machine gun, AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a Thompson submachine gun.
The tweet has been condemned on Twitter, with Fred Guttenberg, an activist against gun violence, posting a picture of his 14-year-old daughter who was killed during the 2018 Parkland school shooting in Florida, along with a photo of her gravestone.
He wrote: “Since we are sharing family photos, here are mine. One is the last photo I ever took of Jaime, the other is where she is buried because of the Parkland school shooting.
“The Michigan school shooter and his family used to take photos like yours as well.”
.@RepThomasMassie, since we are sharing family photos, here are mine. One is the last photo that I ever took of Jaime, the other is where she is buried because of the Parkland school shooting.
The Michigan school shooter and his family used to take photos like yours as well. pic.twitter.com/MsQWneJXAp
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) December 4, 2021
Democratic US Representative John Yarmuth, who chairs the US House of Representatives Budget Committee, condemned his fellow Kentuckian’s post.
“I’m old enough to remember Republicans screaming that it was insensitive to try to protect people from gun violence after a tragedy,” Mr Yarmuth wrote on Twitter, apparently referring to calls for gun control laws.
“I promise not everyone in Kentucky is an insensitive a******,” he added.
Last year in the US over 5000 children were shot. Over 1300 died. Yet a Republican politician decided this is the festive photo. Now imagine, if this was a photo by a black or Muslim family this Christmas. This is what a White Privileged Christmas looks like. Disgusting. https://t.co/VtCofMsOAn
— Adil Ray OBE (@adilray) December 5, 2021
Adil Ray, a British comedian and actor, also criticised Mr Massie and wrote: “Last year in the US over 5,000 children were shot.
“Over 1,300 died. Yet a Republican politician decided this is the festive photo. Now imagine, if this was a photo of a black or Muslim family this Christmas.
“This is what a White Privileged Christmas looks like. Disgusting.”
The shooting in Michigan last Tuesday was the latest in a string of shootings that have led to fierce debates over school safety, gun control and gun rights.
Ethan Crumbley, 15, is accused of opening fire at Oxford High School on 30 November in a rampage that killed four people and injured eight others.
Following the attack, his parents pleaded not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
James and Jennifer Crumbley, aged 45 and 43, are accused of buying their son the handgun used in the shooting.
They are also accused of ignoring warning signs before their son’s rampage, such as concerning drawings found at his school desk.