Georgia Principal Apologizes After Posting Photo of Prom Kids Holding Guns

AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File

Christopher Ellis is the owner of CL Defense, a gun store in McRae-Helena, Georgia. If that was his only job, I suspect that he would have told critics to pound sand over their objections to a picture he posted on the store's Facebook page. But Ellis is also the principal of the middle school in Telfair County, and after some parents started complaining about the post he decided to take down the post that showed three teens in prom attire posing with firearms. 


Principal Ellis' business posted the picture on Facebook Saturday, captioned, 'Sheer Elegance.' It went up the night of Telfair County High School's prom, but he says it wasn't a prom picture. 

He says it has nothing to do with school, but Debra Ellis says his position means it has everything to do with it.

"Why don't you all teach them about violence and the do's and don'ts of guns? Instead, you're promoting it, and these children feel like, 'Well if Mr. Ellis lets his children hold a gun, why can't we?' And it's wrong on all counts," she said.

How does Debra Ellis (no relation to Chris Ellis, by the way) know what he teaches his kids about the "do's and don'ts of guns"? One picture, which for the record shows the teens simply holding firearms, can't tell us anything about the education and training that Ellis has given his children. I'm willing to bet, however, that the owner of a gun store has taught his offspring how to be safe and responsible with a firearm and didn't just shove guns in his kids' hands and told them to preen for the camera. 

In fact, in a post on Facebook late Tuesday night (which appears to have now been deleted or made private), Ellis explained he's posted plenty of pictures of his kids safely handling and using firearms over the years, and never heard a peep of protest. Ellis went on to say that he didn't think this picture would generate any protests, but "Perhaps, I made a miscalculation."


I don't think that was necessarily the case. It seems to me that the controversy, if there really is one, stems from a couple of people who complained to the school and the local media. And it sounds like rather than risk this blowing up and becoming a bigger deal in the school district, Ellis decided his best course of action was to remove the picture from his business page. 

 "As a father to 3 young men, I take firearm safety very seriously. Proper training and usage of firearms have always been a priority in my home. I recently posted a picture of two of my children, as well as the child of my business partner, dressed in formal attire holding firearms. I viewed it as having a “James Bond” vibe that would be a good promo for CL Defense.  Over the years, I have posted many pictures and videos of my children at various ages shooting and handling firearms, always in a safe manner.  I thought that this photo would be no different. Perhaps, I made a miscalculation. To that end, I have removed the picture, and I truly apologize for any grief, offense, or anger that I have caused anyone."

Will that be enough for Debra Ellis and the handful of other critics, or will they now object to the middle school principal owning a gun shop? If she says she's concerned about Ellis "promoting violence" over a picture that doesn't depict any violence at all, I can only imagine what she thinks about his work as an FFL. 


I don't think Chris Ellis has anything to apologize for here, but he's a grown man and he can make his own decisions. I suspect, however, that the anti-gun scolds aren't through with him yet. They'll probably be keeping a close eye on him in the future, just waiting for the next opportunity to raise a stink about anything they find objectionable. 


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