Sheriff's office faces blowback after sharing photo of 'Santa Claus' applying for a concealed carry permit

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office on Friday drew swift blowback after it posted a photo of a man dressed as Santa Claus applying for a permit to carry concealed weapons.

"Guess who came in to receive his Concealed Handgun Permit today?" the office wrote on Twitter, followed by an accompanying photo of "Santa" sitting down with a representative to apply for his permit. "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 quickly drew critical replies from people asking why the sheriff's office was depicting a beloved fictional character meant to symbolize Christmas cheer applying for a permit to carry concealed firearms.

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The office wrote a followup tweet saying that it wasn't trying to make light of the gun violence that for decades has plagued the United States.

"EPSO intended to highlight our staff in the Concealed Handgun Permit Office, not to be insensitive," the office wrote. "Santa correlates to the month of December and we thought he would help to recognize our hard working staff."