There is no question that Republican vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan appeals to the party's base, but when the Wisconsin Congressman was photographed in Cincinnati this week buying his 10-year-old daughter camouflage gear to go with with the high powered rifle he got her last Christmas, many political pundits expressed their distaste.
The backlash against Ryan's parenting choices was quickly met with a counter-backlash from gun enthusiasts on Twitter. Parents who support Ryan and see nothing unusual in taking your daughter on a hunting expedition with her own rifle tweeted pictures of their little girls posing with rifles, automatic weapons, and handguns.
According to the Daily Mail, right wing blogger Michelle Malkin quickly tweeted her support for Ryan by noting that she herself had taken her 12-year daughter shooting for her birthday. 'Self-defence is one of the best gifts you can give a girl,' referring to her own decision to teach her daughter how to shoot a firearm.
Other pro-gun tweeters took note. Gary Hollinger posted a picture of his teenage granddaughter firing her own M16A2 semi-automatic weapon. The gun can fire up to 30 rounds in three shot bursts and is currently being used by over 50 armies across the world.
Another proud parent uploaded a picture of his 13-year-old daughter and the 20-pound turkey she had dispatched with her Remington 870 shotgun before heading off to the mall to buy some shoes.
One father named Matt McCracken posted an image of his little girl holding a rifle that was almost as tall as herself with the quote, 'this is my daughter age 10 learning gun safety.'
Other pint sized pistol holders included Stephanie Janiczek who tweeted, 'My Papa bought me my first shotgun, a Remington MDL 1100 with a full choke barell when I was twelve. Got first buck with it.' [sic]
But critics have called them pint sized political props and are appalled by what they see as parental irresponsibility. They point to a 2008 case where an 8-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head with an Uzi submachine gun under adult supervision at a gun fair in Connecticut. To allow such things defies common sense, critics claim.
Meanwhile, Ryan was unapologetic and told reporters he plans to take his 10 year old daughter deer hunting this in Wisconsin and Oklahoma this autumn.
'She's going to get to go hunting this year for the first time,' Ryan said, adding that he bought her a Remington 700. 243 junior model rifle last Christmas.
'She's 10-years-old, so she can hunt starting at 10. She's been getting ready, she's been practicing. I just need to get her some clothes.'
Critics on twitter were condemnatory or shocked. A Twitter user called Troy Martez wrote: 'Aww! There's nothing sweeter than a Dad and a daughter bonding over the body of a dead animal they probably won't eat.'
Another referenced Ryan's complete opposition to abortion under any circumstances: 'Ryan gets daughter a rifle??? Maybe its for her shotgun wedding if she is not allowed to use birth control.'
Ryan earlier told Deer Hunting Magazine: 'My daughter, she's been hunting with me for years, watching me, but she's old enough this year to hunt on her own. She's really looking forward to it.'
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