A Colorado police sheriff’s office is facing criticism for a tweet showing Santa Claus getting a concealed handgun permit.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) posted a pic of a man depicted as Old Saint Nick sitting down as an employee fills out paperwork for the beloved Christmas figure to carry a fireman.
The department’s tweet was meant to advertise concealed handgun permits, sharing that it has issued 49,750 Concealed Handgun Permits through its office.
“Guess who came in to receive his Concealed Handgun Permit today?” EPSO wrote in its tweet, followed by a Santa Claus emoji.
Guess who came in to receive his Concealed Handgun Permit today?— EPCSheriff (@EPCSheriff) December 3, 2021
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?
For more info please visit our website: https://t.co/AbGrPigOUZ pic.twitter.com/ELmffXcfjA
Twitter users objected to the taste and timing of the message, pointing to the recent mass shooting in Oxford, Mich., in which a high schooler killed four classmates and wounded seven others, The Washington Post reported.
“I’m sitting here in downtown Oxford, MI, waiting for the candlelight vigil to start to pay tribute to 4 students who were murdered by a handgun smuggled into the school,” one person responded to EPCSO's tweet. “But by all means, tell kids Santa carries a concealed weapon.”
“I don't think the idea of Santa needing a handgun is as uplifting as you think it is,” another person tweeted.
The state of Colorado has experienced multiple mass shootings in recent years.
“EPSO intended to highlight our staff in the Concealed Handgun Permit Office, not to be insensitive,” the department said in a follow-up tweet. “Santa correlates to the month of December and we thought he would help to recognize our hard working staff.”
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.— EPCSheriff (@EPCSheriff) December 3, 2021