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Insanity. This is an actual Christmas card from a US politician.

If you’re struggling to understand the depth of America’s obsession with guns, this Christmas card might go some way to explaining it.

Republican Michele Fiore, a Nevada assemblywoman, has published a family Christmas card on her Facebook page.

Every adult in it is carrying a gun. So is one of the children.

The picture was posted on December 1, before the latest US mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

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It’s up to Americans to protect America. We’re just your ordinary American family.-With love & liberty, Michele

Posted by Michele Fiore on Monday, 30 November 2015

It lists the types of guns worn by Fiore’s family members — in case you’d like to get your own I guess.

The caption for the picture says: “It’s up to Americans to protect America. We’re just your ordinary American family. — With love & liberty, Michele.”

The San Bernardino shooting on December 2 is now being treated by US authorities as a terrorist incident, but the attack in which 14 people were killed has also sparked a new conversation about gun control.

It was the 355th mass shooting in America in 2015, a year in which there have been more mass shootings than days so far. President Barack Obama has said gun laws that allow people on the “no fly list” to buy a gun are “insane”, and will  push for greater gun control.

Watch President Obama talk about San Bernardino:

Video via The White House

The New York Times took the extraordinary step of putting an editorial calling for gun control on the front page of the paper — the first time the respected news source has done so in 90 years.

But that hasn’t changed Fiore’s view.

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The politician has since posted a blog about her dislike for gun control, encouraging people to seek out firearms training.

“My strong message to you is its time Americans begin protecting America. Get armed, get trained get your head out of the sand and be prepared,” Fiore wrote the day after San Bernardino.

Does a country that has seen over 12,200 gun deaths so far in 2015 need to be encouraged to take up arms?

America has one of the most powerful military forces in the world. In the past decade, the creeping militarisation of American police forces has seen huge investment in the arming of local police forces. On top of state and county police, there is the National Guard, the FBI, the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Secret Service.

There are layers and layers of official American law enforcement bodies which can be called on to protect the citizenry. Americans do not need more guns. They do not need to better arm themselves, preparing to shoot whomever appears to be a risk.

This is not how you make yourself safer.

In a speech addressing the terrorist threat, President Obama said that in the United States “terrorists turned to types of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society” once it became too difficult to execute more grandiose attacks.

He said no matter what resources were employed, law enforcement agencies would never be able to catch every mass shooter before they staged an attack.

It is for this reason that the United States must enact stricter gun control laws, making it “harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones used in San Bernardino”, he said.

“What we can do and must do is make it harder for them to kill,” President Obama said.

And as President Obama points out, a good way to do that is to remove their access to guns.

Giving everyone a gun would make sense if no one ever intended to use one. But as we know from the American experience, that’s simply not what happens.

Maybe it’s time to try a different approach, Michele Fiore. Because making sure Americans are armed to the teeth isn’t working.

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