Rep. Thomas Massie sparked lots of outrage over the weekend when he posted a Christmas photo to Twitter showing him and six family members each carrying a military-style weapon inside the house. “Merry Christmas,” wrote the Kentucky Republican to accompany a photo that shows seven people holding weapons in front of a Christmas tree. “Santa, please bring ammo.” The weapons they are holding resembled an M60 machine gun, AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, and a Thompson submachine gun, according to Reuters.
Some semi-automatic weapons are made to look nearly identical to fully automatic weapons like machine guns. Under U.S. law, weapons like machine guns are restricted to the military, law enforcement and civilians who have obtained special licenses for weapons made before May 1986. Jonathan van Norman, a campaign manager for Massie, did not immediately reply to a request for comment via Twitter.Reuters
Massie posted the photo mere days after the deadliest U.S. school shooting this year that left four teenagers dead. The suspected shooter, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley was charged with murder and terrorism while his parents were also detained and charged with involuntary manslaughter for their role in the slayings.
Many were quick to criticize Massie, a staunch guns advocate who represents a solidly Republican district, including fellow lawmakers. Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat who is also from Kentucky wrote: “I promise not everyone in Kentucky is an insensitive asshole.” He noted that Republicans used to say it was “insensitive” to talk about gun violence after a tragedy. “Now they openly rub the murder of children in our faces like they scored a touchdown,” Yarmuth wrote.