What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Santa? If you said assault weapon instead of a bowl full of jelly, this may be the perfect Santa photo op for your family.
Sadly, I am not joking. The Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range of Georgia hosted a special Christmas event involving Santa and guns. Gun enthusiasts got to pose with Jolly Old St. Nick and their weapon of choice — AK-47, AR-15 or FN-SCAR-17.
While it’s hard not to “take a shot” at the many puns that abound in this story, it’s even harder to ignore the question: What do guns have to do with Christmas?
One event attendee, Daniel Jespersen, explained the attraction to FoxNews.com, “You don’t often get to pose with Santa with a gun so I thought it was a great opportunity to have one taken to send to my family and friends.”
And before you ask, there were plenty of kids in the mix. Event rules posted to Facebook stated, “All firearms used for the pictures will be inspected, unloaded and disabled for safety. No personal firearms will be permitted for this photo opportunity. You must be 18 years or older to handle the selected firearms for the pictures. Children under the age of 12 are not permitted past the lobby.”
Still, what does it all mean? Is there some kind of hidden, right-wing agenda here? When asked the question, the gun club feigned innocence. Owner Robyn Workman Marzullo said that the Santa and guns event was all about holiday spirit and giving back to the community. Participants were asked to bring cash or canned food to donate to a local food pantry.
So there you have it. According to the Sandy Springs Gun Club, it is possible to celebrate Christmas by posing with your favorite assault weapon on Santa’s lap.
Though the event seems fun and kitschy, I can’t imagine how it is family friendly. Critics have called the Santa firearm photo shoot irresponsible. Those in support of gun rights feel that firearms should be taken seriously — they should never be used as a jokey prop at a public event.
Sure, the Sandy Springs Gun Club is just another business trying to drum up holiday sales. But making this Christmas event family friendly was definitely a mistake. No matter what parents tell themselves about a funny photo op like this, any child can make the connection between Santa, toys and guns. Children should never be put in a situation where a gun even remotely resembles a toy.