It seems Santa Claus has taken time out of his usual festive duties after a sheriff’s office posted a photo of him visiting them to get his concealed carry permit - and it’s safe to say the snap has caused some controversy.

In the image, St Nicolas with his famous long white hair is sporting a Christmas-themed shirt along with some on-brand red overalls while he sat across from a staff member of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado.

The Twitter account for the sheriff’s office tweeted: “Guess who came in to receive his Concealed Handgun Permit today?”

“Did you know the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has issued 49,750 Concealed Handgun Permits with another 2,560 awaiting to be issued?”

Following the photo being posted, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office was met with backlash from people as to why Santa Claus was used to share this message about firearms.

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As one person pointed out, that although the festive season is upon us, one wouldn’t exactly associate Santa Claus nor Christmas with guns.

While another pointed this out by replacing the lyrics to the festive song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

Others asked exactly who Santa need to protect himself from - at the end of the day, he’s the one breaking into people’s houses every year...

Typically those who misbehave a Christmas are given coal...

“Dystopian” was how one person described the photo.

Another person branded the photo as “disgusting” and added that “Those interact w [with] kids have no place carrying concealed handguns.”

Some were particularly furious at the timing of this post after four students were tragically shot dead in a school shooting in Michigan earlier this week.

One person tweeted how he was sitting in downtown Oxford in Michigan, “ waiting for the candlelight vigil to start to pay tribute to 4 students who were murdered by a handgun smuggled into the school.”

Someone else criticised the department and said: “Way to market guns to children the week of a school mass shooting.”

As a result of the anger sparked by the post, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office posted a follow-up tweet insisting that they “intended to highlight our staff in the Concealed Handgun Permit Office, not to be insensitive.”

They also noted the addition of Santa in the photo was due to the fact we’re in December.

“EPSO intended to highlight our staff in the Concealed Handgun Permit Office, not to be insensitive. Santa correlates to the month of December and we thought he would help to recognize our hard working staff.”

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