The sheriff’s office sent the tweet around noon on Friday, along with a link to a webpage with more information on how to obtain a concealed handgun permit in El Paso County.
“Guess who came in to receive his Concealed Handgun Permit today?” the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Twitter, alongside an emoji of a Santa face. “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?”
The tweet received over 550 comments as of Friday afternoon, including one that read, “Santa has a [expletive deleted] gun is what you’re going with? Should I show my child this pic? Will it comfort them? Will they love Santa more? Who is this tweet for?”
Another person said, “I showed this to my kid & now he’s terrified that Santa is going to come to our house to shoot him. Thanks a lot for ruining Christmas!!”
In response to the outrage on Twitter, the sheriff’s office responded by saying they didn’t mean to be “insensitive.”
“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.”
Critics, however, were still urging the sheriff’s office to take down the post, especially in light of the recent school shooting in Michigan.
“So the thinking was, ‘it’s Christmas time, just had a school shooting where a kid killed 3 others with his Christmas present, what a great time to market guns to kids’?!?” one Twitter user asked.
“I’m one person, but I’m sincerely asking you to please genuinely take some time to understand why what you did is so upsetting to so many people,” another responded. “This isn’t some campaign against you, it’s actual pain. You need to delete the post.”