GOP lawmaker draws backlash for Christmas photo showing family holding guns

Rep. Thomas Massie tweeted the photo days after the Michigan school shooting.

December 6, 2021, 5:10 PM

Republican Rep. Thomas Massie is facing backlash for a Christmas card photo he posted to social media showing him and every member of his family holding large guns in front of the holiday tree.

In this image posted on Dec. 4, 2021, to Rep. Thomas Massie's Twitter account, Massie appears in a Christmas photo with his family, with everyone holding a gun.
@repthomasmassie via Twitter via Reuters

"Merry Christmas!," Massie, R-Ky., said in the tweet with the photo he posted Friday. "ps. Santa, please bring ammo."

The photo was posted just four days after a high school shooting in Oxford Township, Michigan, left four students dead and at least eight wounded. Prosecutors say the parents of the accused shooter, Ethan Crumbley, purchased the gun used in the shooting just days before it happened.

Politicians and activists responded to the photo, some criticizing and others defending the pro-gun rights Kentucky congressman.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a fellow Republican responded in a tweet criticizing the photo.

In this June 27, 2021, file photo, Rep. Adam Kinzinger questions witnesses during a House Select Committee meeting in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images, FILE

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

Massie responded to some comments criticizing him, and to others who asked for information about the makes and models of the guns in the photo.

Fred Guttenberg, who became a gun control activist after his daughter Jaime was killed during the 2018 Parkland High School shooting, hit back at the tweet.

"since we are sharing family photos, here are mine," Guttenberg tweeted Friday. "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."

Some rushed in to defend Massie's tweet, Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo. who responded to the photo saying, "That's my kind of Christmas card!"

Controversial conservative activist Candace Owens also weighed in on Friday, insinuating that it was a stretch to link Massie's photo and the shooting in Michigan.

"I don’t have the deranged brain of a leftist. Can somebody explain to me how they worked out that the Michigan school shooting is [Massie's] fault because he shared a picture of him and his family holding legal fire arms?," Owens tweeted, adding clown emojis.

One of Massie's peers in Congress, Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., responded to the tweet on Friday saying, "I’m old enough to remember Republicans screaming that it was insensitive to try to protect people from gun violence after a tragedy, Now they openly rub the murder of children in our faces like they scored a touchdown. Disgraceful."

Massie's office did not immediately respond to request for comment. Massie has been a representative since 2012 and sits on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure and the House Judiciary Committee. His website biography says that "laws that affect ... firearms" are one of the reasons he ran for office.