'Inappropriate' Face Masks Featuring Handgun Sent to Utah Family Via State Program

A Utah family was sent some face masks featuring a handgun, via a state program, and they were upset over the items that the state admitted were "inappropriate." Fox 13 reports that Christine Passey-Spencer signed up for the state's "A Mask For Every Utahn" campaign, and was "just shocked" by what she received.

When Passey-Spencer opened up the package, she found two masks depicting an American flag with a handgun over them and "Don't Tread on Me" written beneath a coiled rattlesnake. "I think the thing that bothered me most is that I knew my tax dollars paid for this and this is very politically charged speech," Passey-Spencer stated. In response, Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s Ben Hart — who has been overseeing the "A Mask For Every Utahn" program — said, "We hope this is an isolated incident that we just missed these couple of masks." He explained that his department received around 100 of the "Don't Tread on Me" masks, and that they all felt the print was "inappropriate."

It appears that they are not sure how the masks were sent to Passey-Spencer, as they had set them aside as ones not to send out. "We will not be using taxpayer dollars to pay for these masks. We will be working with the manufacturer and ensuring we do not pay for them," Hart stated. Fox 13 noted that the governor's office has since replaced the masks for Passey-Spencer's family.

While design choice is certainly up to the wearer, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strongly recommended that "wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission." The CDC added that they also advise toward "the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others."

Additionally, the CDC says that "cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure." However, the department points out that "cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance."