Gaffe or freedom of expression? Twitter, Facebook weigh in on Mitic handgun tweet

Social media users have been debating Innes Coun. Jody Mitic's decision to share an image of new his-and-hers Sig Sauer pistols on Twitter, only days after a fatal shooting in the city's east end.

Councillor says he has 'no regrets' about sharing pistol images on Twitter

Innes Coun. Jody Mitic says that, if anything, his tweet was an attempt to show people what responsible and legal gun ownership looks like. (CBC News)

An ill-conceived, insensitive gaffe — or a perfectly acceptable display of a legal right?

That was the nature of the discussion on social media after Innes Coun. Jody Mitic posted an image of new his-and-hers Sig Sauer pistols on Twitter, only days after a fatal shooting in the city's east end.

​Mitic shared the photo of the two guns, one for his wife and one for him, on March 10, two days after Ottawa's fifth homicide of 2016. 

It was a decision that prompted Ottawa Sun columnist Sue Sherring to write a column about Mitic's tweet this week, declaring it "perhaps not the most sensitive of timing" for a civic leader who should be sharing "the load of the city's fight."

Speaking from a gun range in Stittsville on Wednesday, Mitic defended his gun ownership rights, telling CBC News that he had "no regrets" about the tweet.

The former Canadian Forces sniper said that, if anything, he was attempting to show "what responsible, fun and legal gun ownership looks like."

"If you're having fun and it's cool and you're following the rules, what's to hide? It's quite the issue to make out of something as simple as gun ownership," he said.

On Twitter, not everyone agreed with Mitic's sentiment.

On Facebook, however, the vast majority of commenters supported Mitic and criticized the media attention given to his tweet.

"I take comfort in the fact that a good man like Jody is armed. He's extremely well trained, responsible and knows more about operating a gun than 99% of gun owners. If the criminals are armed, why can't the rest of us be armed," Mike Sammy wrote.

"CBC, where is your responsibility for broadcasting this? Nothing wrong with recreational shooting. The media adds the criminal element and tone to this tweet. shame, shame...." wrote Stefan M. Wenek.

"Legal gun owners should never have to defend themselves to anyone because they own a firearm," wrote Christian Andersen.

But David C. Banks dissented: "Okay, buy a gun ... You have the right. But why advertise it? That's the problem. This guy is in city government. Why does he need to brag about buying a gun? He's just stroking his ego and making himself a poster boy for the insecure."

Mitic said he's received a lot of support since the Ottawa Sun article was published, and that legal gun owners shouldn't have to hide their hobbies from public view.

Do you agree or disagree? Does it matter that Mitic holds elected office? Take part in our poll below.