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?”
Another person branded the photo as “disgusting” and added that “Those interact w [with] kids have no place carrying concealed handguns.”
@EPCSheriff Disgusting. Those interact w kids have no place carrying concealed handguns. Do those you issue these p… https://t.co/zTRThjqxhH
— Your Mom 🇺🇸💫🌧☔️🌲🏔 (@Your Mom 🇺🇸💫🌧☔️🌲🏔)
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.”
@EPCSheriff I’m sitting here in downtown Oxford, MI, waiting for the candlelight vigil to start to pay tribute to 4… https://t.co/Kbx4lXoD7t
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 correlate… https://t.co/iZuNudySwc
“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.”