CNN —  

Outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry wasn’t photographed holding a gun while touring a gun factory Tuesday in South Carolina, and one key ally of his says that was intentional.

The possible 2016 presidential candidate stopped by the gun manufacturer PTR Industries in Aynor for a Veterans Day event, where a special rifle was presented to a wounded veteran involved with the Special Operations Wounded Warriors charity.

Perry was intentional about putting the veteran — not himself – front and center during the ceremony.

Katon Dawson, a close Perry ally and former chairman of the state’s Republican Party, told the Sun News in South Carolina that Perry wouldn’t handle the rifle because he’s involved in a court case in Texas, where he was indicted on counts alleging coercion of a public servant and abuse of his official capacity.

The governor’s office did not return a request for comment from CNN.

Perry and his lawyers argue the felony charges amount to a political attack, and they’ve been robust in fighting the charges in court.