This story has been updated to include a statement from Rep. Santos' office.
The American flag. The bald eagle. The Statue of Liberty. All unmistakable symbols of the United States.
Now a new official symbol could be on the horizon under legislation being co-sponsored by embattled New York Rep. George Santos: the semi-automatic rifle.
Santos, a Republican representing the 3rd District, which includes parts of Nassau County and Queens, is co-sponsoring a House bill that would officially make the AR-15 style rifle the “national gun” of the United States.
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The bill was introduced Friday, Feb. 17 by Alabama Republican Rep. Barry Moore, a staunch gun rights activist with an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, according to AL.com.
“The Second Amendment is as American a right as freedom of speech, religion, and the press,” Moore said on Twitter. “Today I unveiled my bill to make the AR-15 the National Gun of America. We must send a message that we will meet every attack on any of our constitutional rights.”
The post includes photos of Moore visiting a gun shop.
Moore’s bill was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, but the House has not received the full text.
The bill’s full title reads, “To declare an AR-15 style rifle chambered in a .223 Remington round or a 5.56x45mm NATO round to be the National Gun of the United States.”
AR-15 style rifles have become American symbols in their own right in recent years, albeit with a much darker connotation.
The guns have been used in several deadly mass shootings, including at a grocery store in Buffalo in May 2022, at a high school in Florida in February 2018, and at a movie theater in Colorado in July 2012.
It remains to be seen how much support the legislation will garner. Santos has not addressed the bill on any of his social media accounts.
When asked by Daily Voice why this is such an important issue to Santos, a spokesperson issued the following statement:
"Constituents of NY03 have been staunch 2nd amendment supporters. The congressman chose to co-sponsor legislation that pushes back on banning AR-15s."
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