The El Paso Sheriff’s Office in El Paso County, Colorado shared the controversial photo on December 3, showing a man with white hair and a long white beard wearing his Christmas best while signing documents.
‘Guess who came in to receive his Concealed Handgun Permit today?’ they wrote.
But while the office appeared to be going for a bit of levity, Twitter users were horrified, calling the tweet ‘gross,’ ‘disgusting,’ and particularly insensitve given that El Paso county had a deadly mass shooting of its own this year.
The El Paso Sheriff’s Office in El Paso County, Colorado shared a picture of Santa Claus applying for a concealed handgun permit
‘Guess who came in to receive his Concealed Handgun Permit today?’ they wrote
The tweet shows ‘Santa’ wearing red suspenders over a shirt featuring cutesy animals in Christmas clothes.
An employee is entering his application, and Santa has his pen poised above a digital signature reader.
‘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?’ they wrote.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the gun-toting Santa was very real.
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lt. Deborah Mynatt said that the man came in for a concealed handgun permit, and they thought it would make for a fun ‘educational moment’ on Twitter.
But commenters were disgusted, chastizing the office to delete the tweet and ‘read the room.’
Twitter users were horrified, calling the tweet ‘gross,’ ‘disgusting,’ and ‘a terribly bad decision’
‘Disgusting,’ wrote one commenter. ‘Those interact w kids have no place carrying concealed handguns. Do those you issue these permits to know how to lock & secure their firearms? Do they have any firearm safety training? You’re actively making society less safe, rather than “protecting and serving.“
‘Respectfully, as an Australian, this sort of thing very neatly illustrates the US’s completely insane & deeply unhealthy relationship with firearms,’ said another.
‘This is crazy wrong,’ wrote a third. ‘I’m appreciative of your hard working staff doing their jobs… But Guns aren’t “cute” they are deadly, serious responsibilities. Shame on you. And I suspect at this point you know it was a terribly bad decision to post this. Do better. Correct your error.’
‘This is gross, Santa is for children. Advertising weapons for children is horrible and they can’t legally have one. Christmas is a time of peace and joy, not guns and division. Ask any Jesus,’ a fourth chimed in.
‘Ew. Stop it. This is deeply upsetting and contrary to the love and care implicit in the St Nick/Santa mythos,’ chided a fifth.
Many also pointed to the tragic school shooting in Oxford, Michigan only last week
One said the post indicated that someone’s ‘professional judgment is impaired.’
‘What is your message to children here? Santa has a legally concealed weapon? For protection against elves, reindeer, children who take a peek on Xmas eve? There is enough anxiety among children already,’ the said.
‘This really is in poor taste, EPSO,’ said another. ‘I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be anything other than fun, but with yet another school shooting this week, and loads of children worried about that, posting this furthers their fears. And turns parents off. Please reconsider and apologize.’
Several have also pointed out that Colorado has its own history of deadly mass shootings — and El Paso country itself had one seven months ago.
In May, Teodoro Macias, 28, killed six people and then himself at a birthday party.
‘Wasn’t there a horrible mass shooting event in el paso not that long ago?’ asked one commenter. ‘Wasn’t there ANOTHER school shooting resulting in the deaths of 4 children this week? Now isnt the time to be pushing this product. Delete your tweet immediately.’
Several have also pointed out that Colorado has its own history of deadly mass shootings – and El Paso country itself had one seven months ago (pictured: a memorial outside the home where six were killed in Colorado Spring in May)
The Sheriff’s Office has since turned off comments and responded to the backlash
‘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,’ they wrote
Many also pointed to the tragic school shooting in Oxford, Michigan only last week.
‘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. But by all means, tell kids Santa carries a concealed weapon,’ wrote one.
‘The families of the kids slaughtered in Oxford, MI would like a word. My daughter, who’s best friend is fighting for his life due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound, would like one as well. THIS IS A REASON THIS KEEPS HAPPENING,’ tweeted another.
Others shared photos of the victims.
The Sheriff’s Office has since turned off comments and responded to the backlash.
‘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,’ they wrote.
Lt. Mynatt, the spokesperson, also addressed last week’s school shooting in particular.
‘Our hearts go out to everybody impacted,’ she said.
Jealous boyfriend slaughtered six in Colorado birthday massacre – ‘because he didn’t get an invitation to the party’
By Adam Schrader and Ruth Styles In Colorado Springs, Colorado, For Dailymail.com
The Colorado birthday massacre suspect who killed six people in front of three young children had been in a previous fight with the family the weekend prior to Mother’s Day, cops said.
Teodoro Macias Jr., 28, killed his girlfriend Sandra Ibarra, her brother Jose Ibarra and her sister Mayra Perez, 32, during the rampage in the early hours of Sunday morning at a home in Colorado Springs, police said during a news conference.
Macias had ‘a history of jealous and controlling behavior’ towards Ibarra,’ Lieutenant Joe Frabbiele of Colorado Springs Police said afterwards.
Sandra Ibarra had been dating Teodoro Macias Jr, 28, since 2020. Her relatives said he was ‘quiet’ and ‘serious’
Family members identified the victims as Joana Cruz (left), who would have turned 54 this week and her son Melvin Perez (far right), who would have turned 31 this week. Also killed was Perez’s wife, Mayra Perez (right)
‘This behavior in particular was most obvious in particular when trying to isolate her from her family and making efforts to prevent her from attending family events,’ Frabbiele said, though did not detail those claims further.
The three other victims were Mayra’s mother-in-law Joana Cruz, 53, and her two sons, Melvin Perez, 30, and Jose Guttierez, 21. Macias also killed himself at the scene.
Cops said Macias had been in a fight with the family during an event the prior weekend at a different home.
‘The suspect … had been dating Sandra Ibarra for one year. He was not invited to the family gathering and evidence supports he became upset over that lack of invitation,’ Lt. Joe Frabbiele said, referring to the event this past weekend.
Sandra Ibarra (left) and her brother, Jose (right), were among seven people who were shot and killed during a birthday party in Colorado Springs on Sunday. Sandra’s boyfriend, Teodoro Macias Jr, 28, was the gunman
Joana Cruz’s 21-year-old son, Jose Guttierez, was also killed in the mass shooting
Chief Vince Niski said the family had no knowledge or warning that he was coming on Saturday.
‘We believe he just showed up, and entered the mobile home and started shooting,’ he said.
Frabbiele added that there had been no previous reported incidents of domestic violence between Macias and Ibarra to police, that Macias had no criminal history and that there had not been any civil rulings like an order of protection.
Later, when asked how cops knew Macias was angry over not being invited, Lt. Frabbiele said: ‘We’re investigating the manner in which they communicated, which include their phones, so we’re kind of moving through that currently.’