Days after the deadly mass shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) posted a photo of his family on Twitter around a Christmas tree holding multiple large guns with a caption reading “Merry Christmas! p.s. Santa, please bring ammo.”
One of the top donors to Massie in his 2020 reelection campaign was a group called the Gun Owners of America, a gun lobbying group that bills itself as to the right of the National Rifle Association. Massie received $5,000 from the group during the 2020 election cycle.
Gun Owners of America displays a quote from former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on its website calling it “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.” The group has longstanding ties to the Paul family. The group also recently gave Kyle Rittenhouse an AR-15 gun as a gift after he was acquitted of homicide charges after fatally shooting two people in a 2020 Wisconsin protest.
One of the Gun Owners of America’s largest donations to a candidate in 2020 went to former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who received $15,000 from the group, giving him the $5,000 maximum donation for his primary, general and runoff elections. Perdue recently announced that he would run for Georgia governor and challenge incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who was endorsed by the NRA in his 2018 gubernatorial campaign.
The Kentucky congressman received backlash for the photo, with one NBC News opinion piece referring to the post as being an example of “an egregious lack of compassion for the latest victims, families and communities.”
Massie seemed to respond to the backlash to the tweet with a tweet on Dec. 7.
“If only the leftists and RINO neocons could have mustered as much outrage over our failed policies in Afghanistan as they did my family Christmas picture, think of all the lost life that could have been avoided,” Massie tweeted.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) also posted a photo on Twitter in response to Massie’s controversial post on Dec. 7. Her photo featured her four sons surrounding a Christmas tree holding large guns. In the past, Boebert also seemingly tried to take one of her guns onto the House floor, where they are banned, only six days after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. The Colorado congresswoman ran as a pro-gun candidate, and owns a restaurant called Shooters, a gun-themed establishment.
Boebert reportedly used pro-gun language in fundraising emails hours after a mass shooting in her home state of Colorado. In her 2020 campaign, she received $5,000 from the Gun Owners of America, as well as $1,000 from the NRA. She is also one of the most prolific fundraisers in the House, ranking 13th among House Republican members seeking reelection.
While Republican members of Congress still vie for the endorsement of the NRA and other pro-gun rights groups, the NRA is dealing with legal and financial issues. The organization is facing a lawsuit from the New York attorney general to dissolve its lobbying operation, and the Washington, D.C., attorney general charged in a lawsuit that the NRA missued charitable funds.
The Supreme Court also heard a case in November from the NRA that could expand gun rights. Earlier this year, the NRA filed for bankruptcy so the group could reincorporate in Texas, attempting to avoid facing the legal consequences of the suit in New York. However, a judge dismissed the case and the NRA remains incorporated in New York, despite its headquarters being in Virginia.