Social media sites like Twitter are abuzz after the Associated Press published photos of a gun seemingly pointed right at presidential contender Ted Cruz. According to Fox News, the set of of photos were taken at a “Celebrate the Second Amendment” event at CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa this weekend. At the time Senator Cruz (R-Texas) was addressing a small crowd on the finer points of gun ownership and even signed a few paper targets for attendees. According to The Des Moines Register, Cruz rounded out the day by visiting the range with a Smith & Wesson M&P15.

Neither Cruz or his office commented on the photographs taken by Charlie Neibergall. Of the 14 photos, at least two showed the senator with a gun diagram in the background, which was positioned so it looked like it was pointing at his head. Neibergall’s other photos showed Cruz speaking in front of an American flag, walking alongside attendees, and standing in front of gun safety posters. Some supporters of Cruz have argued that the framing of the photographs was deliberate, and that the images were an effort on behalf of Neibergall or the AP to editorialize Cruz’s visit to the gun range.

Others say that the photos were merely coincidental and held no real symbolic meaning. According to Politico, the AP made a statement defending Neibergall’s photographs on Sunday.

“Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was shown in a series of 14 photos taken by an Associated Press photographer at a ‘Celebrate the 2nd Amendment’ event Saturday afternoon, held at a shooting range in Johnston, Iowa,” said Paul Colford, AP vice president & director of media relations. “Five of the photos published by AP included images of guns seen on a wall in the background so that it appeared a pistol was pointed at Sen. Cruz’s head. The images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light.”

Image from Twitter

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