AP photo of gun pointing at Ted Cruz’s head stirs outrage

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Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz speaks during a “Celebrate the 2nd Amendment” event Saturday at CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was in Iowa over the weekend, talking to prospective caucus-goers about gun control.

On Saturday, during a “Celebrate the 2nd Amendment" event at CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa, Cruz was photographed speaking to a small group of supporters. In five photos published by the Associated Press, images of guns — which were on posters hanging on an adjacent wall — appeared to be pointed at the Republican presidential hopeful’s head.

The photos — taken by the AP’s Charlie Neibergall — caused a stir among conservatives who accused the news service of editorializing the gun violence issue.

In a statement, the Associated Press said the images “were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light.”

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(Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Meanwhile, Cruz stirred his own controversy during his swing through Iowa.

The Texas senator cracked a pair of gun control jokes at a town hall meeting in Red Oak, Iowa, on Friday, just two days after a mass shooting in Charleston, S.C.

“You know, the great thing about the state of Iowa is I’m pretty sure you all define gun control the same way we do in Texas,” Cruz said, according to the Huffington Post. “Hitting what you aim at.”

It’s not the first time Cruz has been accused of making an ill-timed joke.

Earlier this month, Cruz mocked Vice President Joe Biden four days after the death of Biden’s son Beau.

“Joe Biden,” Cruz said. “You know what the nice thing is? You don’t even need a punch line. I promise you it works. At the next party you’re at, just walk up to someone and say, ‘Vice President Joe Biden,’ and just close your mouth. They will crack up laughing.”

The senator subsequently apologized.

“It was a mistake to use an old joke about Joe Biden during his time of grief, and I sincerely apologize,” Cruz said in a statement. “The loss of his son is heartbreaking and tragic, and our prayers are very much with the Vice President and his family.”

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(Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)

On Sunday, the Guardian newspaper reported that Earl Holt, the leader of a white supremacist group that has been linked to suspected Charleston shooter Dylann Roof, had donated a total of $65,000 to several Republican presidential candidates, including Cruz.

Late Sunday, the Cruz campaign said it would be returning Holt’s contribution, which was about $8,500.

“We just learned this evening that Mr. Holt had contributed to the campaign,” a spokesman for the Cruz campaign said in statement to the New York Times. “We will be immediately refunding all those donations.”

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