(CNN) – Former Rep. Ron Paul, normally known for his online popularity, drew criticism Monday for asserting a political opinion in a tweet about the Navy SEAL who was killed at a gun range this weekend.
Chris Kyle's death seems to confirm that "he who lives by the sword dies by the sword." Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn't make sense—
Ron Paul (@RonPaul) February 04, 2013
The three-time presidential candidate and longtime congressman from Texas is known for his staunch opposition to U.S. military involvement. While he doesn't describe himself as an "isolationist," he has won favor among libertarians for opposing military intervention in other countries.
Kyle, 38, had claimed a record number of sniper killings in Iraq and said in an interview that he had no regrets about the 160 people he shot during his five combat tours in Iraq.
The former SEAL with two silver stars was an outspoken defender of Second Amendment rights and also helped form a foundation that assisted military veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Kyle was killed along with another veteran, Chad Littlefield. The two had arrived at the shooting range together Saturday with the suspect, Eddie Ray Routh.
In a post to Facebook Monday night, Paul elaborated more on his comment.
"As a veteran, I certainly recognize that this weekend's violence and killing of Chris Kyle were a tragic and sad event. My condolences and prayers go out to Mr. Kyle’s family," the post stated. "Unconstitutional and unnecessary wars have endless unintended consequences. A policy of non-violence, as Christ preached, would have prevented this and similar tragedies. -REP"
While Paul has also been known as an advocate for gun rights, his comment earlier on Twitter quickly drew fire for going over the line.
@RonPaul So all veterans, once done serving our nation with honor, deserve to be murdered as civilians? Wow.—
Razor (@hale_razor) February 04, 2013
Michelle Lancaster (@SkiGarmisch) February 04, 2013
David Welch (@davewelch21) February 04, 2013
Shocked and disappointed in @RonPaul for this. Rush to judgment.—
Chris Knox (@ChrisKnox_AZ) February 04, 2013
Some, however, sided with Paul. The tweet was "favorited" by 85 people about an hour after the post.
@waynepennell Its very sad But we need to get out of other countries The scope of our interference is unjustifiable by any moral standard—
RonPaulVote (@jonflombee) February 04, 2013
Paul, also a doctor, has a record of defending gun ownership. Weeks after the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting, the former congressman posted on his congressional website that he agrees "more guns equals less crime" and that "private gun ownership prevents many shootings."
He also came out against calls for more gun control, saying people should not view "government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence."