Ted Cruz photos by Associated Press included several of gun seemingly pointed at him

The Associated Press/Charlie Neibergall, June 20, 2015
The Associated Press/Charlie Neibergall, June 20, 2015

This Ted Cruz news photo, which seemingly shows a gun pointed at the Republican Texas senator and presidential candidate, raised concerns in some quarters over the weekend, Politico reported Sunday:

The Associated Press/Charlie Neibergall, June 20, 2015

Conservative-oriented Breitbart.com separately asked readers to imagine the outcry if a Democratic gun-control advocate had been depicted similarly.

Politico noted the Associated Press photo actually captured a background poster resulting in a large semi-blurred image of a handgun pointed at Cruz’s forehead.

Cruz appeared Saturday at CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa, Politico said, and in his remarks, he encouraged residents to adopt what he called a Texan approach to guns by simply "hitting what you aim at." A day earlier, Politico noted, Cruz had accused Democrats of using Wednesday’s church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, as an excuse "to take away the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens."

To our inquiry, an AP spokesman said the photo at issue wasn't intended to convey a negative message about Cruz (see his full statement at the end of this story).

We learned that the AP photographer, Des Moines-based Charlie Neibergall, took at least five other photos of Cruz speaking at the shop. Our parent newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, is an AP member so we're able to share the other photographs of Cruz talking sent out by the AP:




Neibergall also took other photos at the event including this one of Cruz firing at a target:

The AP spokesman, Paul Colford, said in a statement emailed to us: "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. 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."

Colford continued: "The images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light."

We've asked Cruz's office and campaign if he's commenting on the gun photo and will update this story if so.