A sheriff's office in Colorado was heavily criticized after sharing a photo of Santa Claus getting a concealed handgun permit on social media. The photo showed a man with long white hair and a white beard sitting in an office with another employee as he finished his application for the permit. He was wearing red suspenders and had a Christmas-themed shirt covered with teddy bears and wrapped presents.
"Guess who came in to receive his Concealed Handgun Permit today? Santa Claus 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 El Paso Sheriff's Office captioned the photo on Twitter.
Thousands of people responded to the photo, blasting the office for the timing of the post. One user cited last week's school shooting in Michigan.
"You completely missed the mark on this tweet, especially since the alleged shooter in Michigan was given a handgun as a Christmas present. Also, little kids are now wondering why Santa needs to carry a concealed weapon. Best bet is to delete the tweet," Twitter user msubones wrote.
About three hours later, the Sheriff's Office replied to the tweet, saying they were just trying 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."
Despite the backlash, the department has not removed the original post.