Lauren Boebert, George Santos Co-Sponsor Bill To Make AR-15 The ‘National Gun’

Gun Rights

With 647 mass shootings in 2022 and 85 already this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, guess what Rep. Barry Moore (R-Alabama) wants to do now? Well, on February 17, 2023, Moore introduced a bill, H.R.1095, that would declare the AR-15 style rifle the “National Gun of the United States.” Yep, three days after Valentine’s Day, he introduced this Bill that will be first discussed by the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability. And the bill has a trio of co-sponsors: Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado), Rep. George Santos (R-New York), and Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Georgia).

The description of the Bill on the Congressional website currently does not have much more (or Moore) clarification beyond its stated title: “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.” So it does not elaborate why Moore, Boebert, Santos, and Clyde specifically feel that such legislation is needed at this point or why taxpayer money should be spent deliberating such a legislation.

At the moment, there is no official “National Gun of the United States.” Sure, there’s a National Bird (the bald eagle), a National Mammal (the North American bison), a National Floral Emblem (the Rose), and a National Tree (the Oak tree). But it’s not as if there’s a National something for every common organism or object. For example, there is no official National food item, although some might relish having hot dogs fill this role. And there’s no National hair style, regardless of how many mullets may be out there. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has promoted the AR-15 as “America’s rifle.” However, the NRA is not officially the government, at least it’s not supposed to be.

The choice of the AR-15 is interesting and sure to turn heads. Although the AR in “AR-15” stands for ArmaLite rifle rather than “assault rifle”, “automatic riffle”, or “a rifle,” Jonathan Franklin described in an NPR article the AR-15 as designed “to kill people quickly and in large numbers.” The Federal Assault Weapons Ban that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994 did restrict sales of AR-15-style firearms. But since the Ban was lifted in 2004, AR-15s and very similar firearms have been the weapons used for a number of the deadliest mass shootings in American history including the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, the 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting, the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and the 2022 Robb Elementary School shooting.

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The introduction of H.R.1095 comes at a time when many Americans have been clamoring for Congress to do more about addressing gun violence. The number of mass shootings in the U.S. per year has steadily grown over the past decade, going from 273 in 2014 to over 600 in each of the last three years. Gun violence left over 44,000 Americans dead last year and already over 6,400 Americans dead less than two months into this year. Meanwhile, a June 2021 Pew Research Poll found that 48% of Americans surveyed “see gun violence as a very big problem in the country today,” and 53% favor stricter gun laws. In Gallup polls over the past three years, the percentage favoring stricter gun sales laws has gone from 52% to 66% to 57%.

Note that “stricter gun laws” does not necessarily mean “take away everyone’s guns.” Yet, according to Howard Koplowitz writing for, Moore marked his introduction of H.R. 1095 with a statement that said, “The anti-Second Amendment group won’t stop until they take away all your firearms. One rule to remember: any government that would take away one right would take away them all.” Umm, just because you don’t have a right to run naked down a city street singing “Hallelujah,” while throwing hot dogs at people doesn’t mean that you won’t retain your right to run, to eat hot dogs, or to sing the song “Hallelujah.” In fact, you are free to be naked, sing “Hallelujah,” and throw hot dogs at your mirror, all at the same time. So imposing some restrictions should by no means imply that even more restrictions will necessarily follow. Otherwise, we’d already be in a society where you couldn’t do anything, except for maybe buy stuff.

Again, the data clearly shows that gun violence is a major problem in the U.S. that’s grown over the past decade. The only way to deny that is to somehow suggest that over 44,000 deaths in a year is no big deal. When it comes to gun violence, the U.S. does stand out from much of the world, but not in a good way. For example, an analysis from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington found that among 64 high-income countries and territories the U.S. has ranked eighth in terms of rates of homicides by firearms with two U.S. territories, ​Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, finishing first and third. So, in some ways, the gun may have already become a national symbol for the U.S. to the much of the world.

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