GOP Rep. Massie faces backlash for post of him, family members holding guns around Christmas tree

Kentucky congressman posted picture on Twitter four days after teen allegedly killed four high school classmates

Updated: December 6, 2021 - 10:15pm

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GOP Rep. Thomas Massie is facing backlash for a Twitter post Saturday in which he and other family members posed before a Christmas tree with each holding a long-barreled gun and asking Santa Claus to bring them ammunition, four days after a Michigan teen allegedly shot and killed four classmates with a pistol his father recently purchased. 

The photo includes the caption, "Merry Christmas! ps. Santa, please bring ammo." 

"I’m pro second amendment, but this isn’t supporting right to keep and bear arms, this is a gun fetish," said Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jaime Guttenberg, a 17-year-old girl who was killed during the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting, said, "Since we are sharing family photos, here are mine," displaying first a picture of his daughter with the family dog, followed by a picture of her grave. 

"When you see a representative in Congress posting a photo like this, he is telling those who may be in possession of weapons that it is cool, that it is okay, and people end up killed because of that," Guttenberg later told The Washington Post.

"I’m old enough to remember Republicans screaming that it was insensitive to try to protect people from gun violence after a tragedy" write Democrat Rep. John Yarmuth, who like Massie represents Kentucky. 

Michigan Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens called the Massies' digital Christmas card a "sickness."

Massie, who was elected in 2012, has long been an advocate for less stringent gun laws. In April of this year, he introduced a bill that would allow individuals aged 18-20 to buy handguns — current controls set the age limit at 21. 

"Why should a 20-year-old single mom be denied the right to defend herself and her children?" he wrote. "18, 19, and 20-year-olds are considered adults and can vote on important public policy issues. They can also form business contracts, get married, and serve in the military. As adults, these Americans should not be deprived of basic constitutional rights." 

He has also given interviews in the past during which he says that the belief of many of his constituents is that past mass shootings — such as the ones at the Pulse nightclub in 2019, or Columbine High School in 1999 — "wouldn't have been stopped" by harsher gun restrictions.

"See these proposals for what they are," he said. "They're unserious solutions to a real problem."