Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert are facing backlash for offering their “prayers” to victims in Boulder despite pushing for gun rights in the aftermath of the recent mass shooting.
Mr Cruz launched into a staunch defence of firearm ownership at a hearing on Tuesday, falsely accusing Democrats of trying to take guns away from “law-abiding citizens”.
“Every time there is a shooting, we play this ridiculous theatre where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders,” he said.
“What happens in this committee after every mass shooting is Democrats propose taking away guns from law-abiding citizens because that’s their political objective.”
Mr Cruz went on to defend his offering of thoughts and prayers to those impacted by the shooting, a gesture which critics often condemn as hypocritical when coming from members who support gun laws.
“I don’t apologise for thoughts or prayers,” he insisted. “And the contempt of Democrats for prayers is an odd sociological thing.”
On Twitter, the senator faced backlash for the comments, with one user telling him: “shove your thoughts and prayers”.
“You care more about keeping the gun lobby on your donor list than you do about any gun victims,” they added.
“Ted Cruz can take his thoughts and prayers and shove them up his a**. #GunReformNow,” another user posted, echoing a similar sentiment.
He added: “What people are fed up with — both Democratic and Republican voters, per polls — is the blanket refusal to consider any type of gun control legislation despite hundreds of mass shootings every year.”
Another user echoed: “Nothing wrong with thoughts and prayers, unless like Cruz you are using them as an excuse to do nothing.”
Controversial QAnon representative Lauren Boebert also fielded similar criticism after expressing that “her prayers are with the shoppers, employees, first responders & others affected by the shooting in Boulder” on Twitter.
“May God be with them,” she said, adding: “While we are still awaiting important information and details in this case, random public shootings & senseless acts of violence are never ok.”
The sentiment came amid reports that Ms Boebert reportedly sent a fundraising email encouraging supporters to say “Hell No” to gun control just two hours after the mass shooting.
The representative is a strong advocate for gun rights as the founder of the Colorado-based restaurant Shooters Grill and caused controversy when she claimed she would carry her personal firearm with her to Congress.
“Learn to understand the conversations in which your voice is so unwanted and unearned that even if your desire to comfort were genuine, your contribution does the opposite,” one user said in response to her later tweet.
“This is possibly the most hypocritical tweet ever,” another said.
“How dare you. How dare you pretend to be a Christian, praying for people who have been affected by yet another gun crime,” one person said in an emotional response, adding: “How dare you even dare to write this, given your views on gun laws.”
The suspect in the shooting was apprehended and has been charged with 10 counts of murder.