Gov. Nikki Haley’s gift in a stuffed stocking on Christmas: a Beretta PX7 Storm handgun

“I must have been good,” a delighted Haley tweets of Santa’s gift.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: When most people opened up their Christmas presents on Wednesday morning, they got sweaters, books, movies and video games. But when South Carolina governor Nikki Haley unwrapped her present under the Christmas tree, she found a handgun.

Haley was gifted a Beretta PX7 Storm handgun by her husband, Michael Haley, and was overjoyed by the gift.

In a tweet Haley put out on her office Twitter account, she said “Our family had a wonderful Christmas together! I must have been good Santa gave me a Beretta PX7 Storm.” Haley also posted a picture of the gun on popular social media and photo sharing website Instagram.

The tweet and photo have brought about a maelstrom of responses online. Several have condemned Haley for being so enthusiastic about receiving a gun, saying that it goes against the spirit of Christmas and her joy is, in essence, a celebration of killing. Supporters, on the other hand, have lauded Haley for standing up for gun ownership and celebrating the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, which permits the sale and possession of license firearms.

Haley is a Republican, a party long known for its staunch support of gun ownership. The year 2013 saw the gun control debate spark for the first time in several years in the wake of some horrific violent crimes in 2012 – most notably, the slaying of school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and the mass murder in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

The gun and its ensuing online storm may have been a publicity move on Haley’s part, as she will be running to defend her gubernatorial post this year during the 2014 elections. Haley was elected in 2010, and has been the governor of South Carolina since January 2011. Previously, she was a member of the state’s House of Representatives. Born in South Carolina to Sikh immigrants from Amritsar, Haley went to Clemson University and received her bachelor’s degree in accounting. She is currently the youngest governor in the US, at age 41.

Beretta, the manufacturer of the gun, says that the Px7 Storm is “compact and controllable” and “accommodates plainclothes operations, home defense, or a day at the range” on their website. The gun sells for $575. In a statement to ABC News, Haley said that she plans to try out the gun on a shooting range soon, and looks forward to it.

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