A Missouri newspaper is standing by one of its political cartoons about the death of slain ex-Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, shot and killed at a Texas gun range earlier this month allegedly at the hand of a fellow veteran.

Lee Judge’s Feb. 9 cartoon for the Kansas City Star showed a grave with the headstone “American Sniper” and featured the caption, “If only there had been a good guy with a gun around.” The statement is a reference to National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre’s oft-repeated quote in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” and Kyle’s book, “American Sniper.”

Newspaper Runs Chris Kyle Cartoon After Snipers Death

Lee Judge’s Feb. 9 cartoon (Image source: Kansas City Star)

The conservative website Twitchy flagged the cartoon Thursday after a claim that it ran in syndication in the Charlotte, Fla. Sun Herald on Wednesday — the day after Kyle’s funeral. It actually appears that the cartoon ran in the Biloxi, Miss. Sun Herald newspaper, though the precise print date could not immediately be verified.

The Mississippi Sun Herald did not return a request for comment from TheBlaze about whether or not the cartoon did actually run four days after its original publication date and if so, why the outlet chose to do so in such close proximity to the funeral.

Miriam Pepper, vice president of editorial at the Kansas City Star, however, defended the original cartoon, calling it “very powerful” and said it “made a very telling point.”

“Here you have a very experienced weapons expert, you know, who’s murdered by another shooter and I think we believe very strongly that the discussion around the issue of putting more armed guards in places is not going to be the answer everyone agrees with,” Pepper told TheBlaze.

Judge could not be reached directly for comment, but Pepper said she was sure he didn’t intend any disrespect.

“I’m sure he wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to the deceased. It was a very powerful cartoon and sometimes very powerful cartoons are uncomfortable,” she said.