Rep. Thomas Massie (R. Kentucky) posted what may have seemed a little odd holiday photo to Twitter last Saturday, December 4. Massie was pictured with his wife, five kids and a gun. The caption read “Merry Christmas!” ps. Santa Claus, bring your ammo!”
Although many are strong advocates of the Second Amendment, some may question the posting of this photo just days after the school shooting in Oxford. But, Rep. Massie also has gotten into some trouble. While some criticised him, others supported the lawmaker who is a strong supporter of Amendment 2.
Fred Guttenberg is one of those who responded. Guttenberg became a gun control advocate after Jaime was murdered in the Parkland High School shooting.
“.@RepThomasMassie: Since we’re sharing family photos here are my. The first photo is my last one of Jaime. The second is her burial place after the Parkland school shooting. Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg), a Michigan school shooter’s family used to also take photos just like yours,” Fred Guttenberg tweeted his response.
Richard N. Ojeda (@Ojeda4America), a former West Virginia State Senator and U.S. Army Veteran, also called out Rep. Massie in Twitter. “KY Rep Thomas Massie is equipped with an M60 Machine gun.” You are kidding me? When I joined the Army, I had the “Pig” and we carried a couple of them on our first tours in Iraq. A weapon such as this should not be allowed to anyone. If it were in danger, it could prove fatal!”
It’s not a political game
One might argue that the Kentucky lawmaker was “playing at his base,” but Mike Lawlor was not so sure. He is an associate professor of Criminal Justice at Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, University of New Haven.
Lawlor said, “I doubt he was being cynical.” Lawlor stated that Lawlor believes he was a person who loves his guns. The photo may also have been taken in Oxford, Michigan before the incident.
Lawlor said that politicians that play to their base are often lacking in sincerity. But that was not the case with Lawlor.
Lawlor said that Massie has a reputation for being a bit crazy and for having ultra-libertarian views. I agree with the people who find it a bit outrageous that Massie posed with guns in his family for Christmas photos. This has the potential to inspire others who share similar views. This was evident in Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse demonstrated it. This convinces others that such behavior is acceptable. It sends out a message because all the guns in question were assault weapons. The message could increase the likelihood that others will think this is normal.
Yet, supporters of the Second Amendment were also quick to note that despite the outrage from some users, nothing that the congressman did was illegal – and by all accounts, the firearms are legally owned. In fact, the case could be made that Massie was very much exercising his Constitutional rights and managed to use a simple photo to stir up a debate – for which he has received a lot of press.
Notable is the fact that Saturday’s tweet by Kentucky legislator had almost 85,000 Likes, and was retweeted 13.3000 times. Rep. Massie stated that even though he was criticized for some of his comments, he has received praises for supporting the Second Amendment.
Teresa Mull (editor of Gunpowder Magazine) stated, “Rep. Massie loves guns and supports the Second Amendment so this family photograph is no surprise.”
Mull said via email that he has met Rep. Massie. He isn’t the kind of person who would ridicule a tragedy. This photo was most likely intended and possibly even planned to be posted in advance of school shooting. The timing is unrelated and coincidental. Massie’s photograph shows that firearms can be and should always be safely handled. It can be a way for family to bond through gun safety lessons, self-defense training seminars, shooting sports, hunting trips, etc.