Nevada politician Michelle Fiore’s Christmas card.
Before he attempts to descend the Fiore family’s chimney on Christmas morning, Father Christmas would be wise to phone ahead. For if Michele Fiore’s Christmas card is a guide, Santa’s nocturnal delivery to their home will be his last.
Dressed in festive red, standing before a Christmas wreath – for Santa’s bereaved reindeer? – are Fiore’s smiling family, brandishing a terrifying small arsenal of machine guns and semi-automatic pistols. Her five-year-old grandson, Jake, is packing a Walther p22. Fiore’s mother, Lill, looks a little tense with her Extar EXP556.
Fiore, a Republican assemblywoman for Nevada, probably doesn’t share the view that she has shot herself in the foot with her defence on Fox News. “I think getting firearms as a present and giving firearms as presents is a great present, and I think again because Christmas is a family affair, our ultimate responsibility is to protect and make sure our family is safe, ” she said.
To European onlookers, Fiore resembles the stereotypical gun-toting redneck but she is more interesting than that. Her mother Lill is gay and Fiore is the only Republican to vote to lift the ban on same-sex marriage in Nevada. She also backed the legalisation of medical marijuana.
But guns will define her career. Last month, she greeted the Paris attacks with a tweet to fellow Americans: “Be Aware & Armed, CARRY YOUR GUN.” She later threatened to fly to Paris and shoot Syrian refugees “in the head”. In 2014, she supported a Nevada rancher Clive Bundy in a confrontation with US federal agents. “Don’t come here with guns and expect the American people not to fire back, ” she said. She has also lobbied for a bill to allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus.
American politicians’ Christmas cards are rather more robust than anaemic British MPs’ equivalents. South Carolina Republican Chris Corley’s card features an image of the state house with the Confederate flag flying above it. “May your Christmas be filled with memories of a happier time when South Carolina’s leaders possessed morals, convictions and the principles to stand for what is right, ” the card reads. Happy holidays!