A Connecticut father and a local gun store are standing behind a decision to post a Facebook photo of the man's 6-month-old daughter with a bolt-action rifle resting across her lap.
The picture of the baby has been removed from Facebook after it stirred controversy last week, reports WTNH-TV
in New Haven, Conn., which reported the story after a viewer forwarded the photo to its newsroom.
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The child's father, Christopher Duffy, snapped the photo at the Woodbridge Firearms Trading Post while he was shopping for the weapon, and posted it to his Facebook page. The store then shared the photo on its page. Both parties say the picture is just a picture, and there was nothing wrong with it.
"If someone wants to share something with the rest of the community, I have no problem posting it on the page," said the gun shop's co-owner, Mike Majewski.
However, Duffy and the gun store have both taken the photo off their Facebook pages.
"Thanks to all the new supporters that liked our page," the store posted on its page.
"Pics have been taken down because the families asked them to be removed. We support teaching young people to shoot and would NEVER put anyone's life at risk. Feel free to share photos and comments. If I post something, and it offends you ... don't cry to me. Call your mom."
Duffy, meanwhile, told the television station that the photograph of his daughter, Genevieve, was harmless.
"Other people being upset about it? I don't force their kids to do anything. I don't force them to do anything," Duffy said. "My hand was on it, the bolt was open, it was safety checked. I'm not sure how wide the picture is. She's clearly in her seat just sitting up, one hand on the scope, one hand on the barrel."
Viewers said the photo was disturbing, especially considering the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Mass., in December 2012.
"It's too much. It's a very bold statement," said New Haven resident Bryanna Wingate. "After everything that happened in Connecticut with Sandy Hook, and everything that's going on with the gun laws, why would you have your baby holding a gun — a big gun?"
Another viewer, Alexa Grose of Seymour, said the picture was "bizarre" because the baby "can't even speak yet."
But others commenting on the television station's website said they saw nothing wrong with the photo.
"He seems to have both feet planted firmly on the ground," said one commenter. "A patriot who honors and lives by the U.S. Constitution and expects our government to do the same. The 6-month-old little girl has about as much chance of getting injured by the unloaded rifle, on safety, as she does getting struck by a meteor or kicked by a kangaroo in Australia while she is physically in Connecticut. Pretty slim, I would say."
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