The National Rifle Association’s (NRA) post hours after a gunman opened fire at an outlet mall in Texas, killing eight, has sparked a backlash on Twitter.
The shooting on Saturday afternoon at the Allen Premium Outlets, about 40 miles from Dallas, sent hundreds of shoppers and employees fleeing in panic.
An officer with the Allen Police Department was in the area on an unrelated call when he heard gunshots at 3:36 p.m., the police department said in a statement.
“The officer engaged the suspect and neutralized the threat,” it added. “He then called for emergency personnel.”
Seven people, including the suspect, died at the scene, Allen Fire Chief Jonathan Boyd said.
Nine others were transported to area hospitals, where two of them died. Three of the injured were in critical condition and four were stable, Boyd said on Saturday evening.
The slain victims have not been named, but range in age from 5 to 61.
The shooting was the latest in the U.S. during a year with an unprecedented pace of mass killings—and occurred less than a week after authorities said a man fatally shot five of his neighbors, including a 9-year-old boy, in Cleveland, Texas.
Just a few hours after it occurred, the NRA tweeted (and then retweeted) that “no organization in the world does more to promote safe and responsible use of firearms than the NRA!”
The tweet included a graphic that said the organization “trains 1 million Americans every year” alongside a picture of a rifle and bullets.
Many criticized the tweet, with Joel Kaskinen writing: “The only thing the @NRA is training millions of people to do is kill. To push this message on the same day as a mass shooting is unconscionable. F*** all the way off.”
William Youngblood wrote that the NRA was “no better than the arms dealers supplying the drug cartels.”
He added: “Children get massacred in a shopping mall and this is your bullshit response? F*** you. F*** your terrorist paranoia organization of murderers.”
Another Twitter user, Karissa Marie, wrote: “It’s disgusting that the NRA is trying to congratulate themselves about gun training hours after a mass shooting where children were dead outside an outlet mall. This NRA gun training was useless with this mass shooting. They’re trying to cover the blood on their hands.”
Some agreed with the tweet, one with user writing: “Thank God I have a gun and every adult should have one.”
Meanwhile, Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, responded to another tweet from the NRA that boasted its members had “liberated” 27 states with constitutional carry laws.
“America, is it liberating to have a 25 times higher gun homicide rate than any peer nation? Is it liberating for gun violence to be the leading cause of death among children in the US? Is it liberating to have had more mass shootings this year than days? This isn’t freedom.”
The U.S. has seen 199 mass shootings so far in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Newsweek contacted the National Rifle Association for comment via email overnight and will update this article if a response is received.