“Devastated” Nashville Republican posed in gun-filled family Christmas card before school shooting

Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., offered condolences to the victims of the Covenant School shooting in Nashville but faced a flurry of criticism over a Christmas card showing him and his family armed with assault weapons.

Ogles said he and his family were “devastated by the tragedy” at the Covenant School, where a heavily armed attacker killed three nine-year-old children and three adults on Monday.

“We are sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of those lost,” Ogles said in a statement posted to Twitter. “As a father of three, I am utterly heartbroken by this senseless act of violence.”

Social media users quickly responded by resurfacing a Christmas photo shared by Ogles on Facebook in 2021, which shows him and his family posing in front of a tree while touting large guns.

“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good,” the post said. Vanity Fair reported that the quote is often attributed to George Washington.

“Here is MAGA GOP @RepOgles who represents the Covenant School in Congress,” tweeted Democratic attorney Qasim Rashid. Former Lincoln Project executive director Fred Wellman also lashed out at Ogles over the card.

“This is the fraud @AndyOgles that represents the district where 3 Elementary school children and 3 staffers were just slaughtered by a shooter wielding the same weapons as his…Christmas photo,” he wrote.

The Washington Post reported in 2021 that Ogles was the mayor of Maury County, Tennessee, at the time the image was shared. Ogles repeatedly vowed to fight gun safety regulations while running for Congress.

“I will fight tirelessly to ensure that your constitutional rights are protected and never infringed upon. Disarming the people is the most effective way to enslave them, and we must remain vigilant when anyone seeks to erode our civil liberties,” his congressional campaign website  says.

While serving as mayor, Ogles signed a resolution declaring Maury County “a sanctuary community for the constitutional right to bear arms.” He also cosponsored two separate pieces of legislation promoting lax gun laws — the first bill would allow people with concealed carry licenses or permit to carry a gun in any state, while the second would bar the federal government from creating a federal firearms registry. 

Ogles wasn’t the only member of the GOP to catch flack for hypocritical responses to the school shooting.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., wrote on Twitter that she was “heartbroken to hear about the shooting,” adding that her office was standing “ready to assist.” 

Critics responded by highlighting that Blackburn had received more than $1 million in donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA) while fighting gun safety legislation.

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Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn, said he was “devastated and heartbroken” but faced criticism over his staunch pro-gun positions. His website asserts that the “threat to our gun rights is real,” adding that he “opposes a national gun registry, red flag laws, and universal background checks.”

Like Ogles, Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., sparked fury after sharing a family Christmas photo of her young children brandishing rifles in 2021. Boebert took to Twitter on Monday to offer her prayers to “the beautiful children whose lives have been lost, their families & the first responders who are dealing with this tragedy in Nashville!”

A day before the Covenant School shooting, Boebert shared a tweet promoting the efforts of Colorado House Republicans, who had been “fighting all weekend against the Democrats’ package of anti-constitutional gun bills that target lawful businesses instead of criminals, expand red flag orders, and infringe on our Second Amendment rights.”

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