The AR-15, a model of military grade assault rifle, trends today as GOP members of congress wear pins depicting the weapon to work today. The move has polarized activists and onlookers alike. The pins adorned the lapels of the congress members as they voted Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar off of the Foreign Affairs Committee within congress.
New York representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez spoke out against Omar’s removal and the increasingly violent and racially motivated language used by several GOP members of congress, specifically Marjorie Taylor Greene.
"I had a member of the Republican caucus threaten my life and the Republican caucus rewarded him with one of the most prestigious committee assignments in this Congress."
Watch Rep. AOC respond to Republicans' removal of Rep. @Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/A22R7jQrlC
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) February 2, 2023
The pins come immediately after a series of deadly mass shootings across the country, including one at a Lunar New Year Celebration in Monterey Park, California. The pins coming immediately after the shootings, several of which targeted people of color, combined with the vote against Omar, have shocked the public in a seemingly violent political statement. Several GOP members of congress have spoken regarding their preference to maintain looser gun laws in the past, but many feel the pins depicting a weapon used in several mass shootings was in poor taste.
I'm old enough to remember when members of Congress wore flag pins instead AR-15 pins on the House floor.
What the actual fuck pic.twitter.com/lmBOiwihli
— BrooklynDad_Defiant!☮️ (@mmpadellan) February 3, 2023
Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert has notoriously promoted gun ownership and open carrying. Boebert previously owned Shooter’s Grill, a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado. Critics feel that Boebert’s promotion of the second amendment (the right to bear arms) at this time is insensitive to the families who lost people to mass shootings.
Colorado’s crazy brag on love for guns. One of SINO’s concessions removal of metal detectors.. let’s pray this is not his biggest mistake! @RepBoebert wants to wear guns not just AR-15 lapel pin on @HouseFloor! @CapitolPolice pic.twitter.com/Xy34vudbWo
— LovelyMsNet (@LovelyMsNet) February 3, 2023
It’s disgusting @realannapaulina and @Santos4Congress also wore AR-15 pins in the midst of a gun violence at it’s highest in this country.
It’s a slap in the face to so many, weapons of war don’t belong on congress lapels just like they don’t belong on the streets of America! pic.twitter.com/qLJXDO4woH
— Skyleigh Heinen (@Sky_Lee_1) February 3, 2023
Some felt the pins only promoted gun sales that would end up profiting the NRA and further inciting violence.
This has nothing to do with the Constitution or the 2nd amendment it has to do with their violent natures, opposing the Constitution and making sure everyone of their ilk owns an AR-15. These are war mongering people elected to control our government through violence and force.
— Stella Parton (@StellaParton) February 3, 2023
Representative Andrew Clyde of Georgia’s 9th district revealed himself as the source of the pins. In a brief statement posted to his Twitter account, he explained his goal to promote the protection of the second amendment. While holding back a smile, he spoke about how it is “triggering” his Democratic colleagues.
Apparently I’ve been triggering some of my Democrat colleagues… pic.twitter.com/3qJB1bRuBP
— Rep. Andrew Clyde (@Rep_Clyde) February 2, 2023
Additionally, New York Rep. George Santos was photographed wearing one of the pins. Santos is currently under investigation for several ethical violations and lying about his background. Critics felt that his participation in the pins was only adding insult to injury.
This man and his AR-15 lapel pin are not worthy of being a member of Congress. pic.twitter.com/HVoG75DypJ
— Michael Hollander (@veejaycollector) February 3, 2023
The AR-15 pins replaced the more common American Flag pins worn in congress. Onlookers took the symbolism as a dark sign of what these politicians truly prioritize.
Republican have replaced their American flag pins for AR-15 pins. Never have I seen such a perfect metaphor to describe the GOP in my lifetime.
The GOP care more for guns than they do for their country and Americans.#GOPClownShowContinues
— the Fallen💙 (@Mattrtwhite) February 3, 2023
In an act of solidarity, Republicans are now wearing AR 15 lapel pins on the floor in Congress. AR 15's! So, the profitability of arms manufacturing is more important than public safety. Republicanism.
— Allan Kinsman (@scipionow) February 3, 2023
Images of shooting victims are typically not publicly broadcast, but some call for the extreme measure so that the Republican party takes a step back on the pro-gun branding.
If Republicans in Congress want to replace the American flag on their lapels with a pin of an AR-15, then it’s well past time for photos/videos of victims of AR-15 massacres be broadcast nationally. Yes, that includes victims who were children.
— Katie R (@VisceralBliss17) February 3, 2023
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy was not seen wearing a pin, and is yet to speak on them. However, his support for Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Qanon supporter who has previously made dangerous antisemitic and violent comments, is thought to speak volumes.
Never forget that @SpeakerMcCarthy put hater & psycho @RepMTG on major House committees. #morningjoe pic.twitter.com/0qd8tJUR1C
— Susan 💙🇺🇸 (@susanj357) February 3, 2023
To summarize Kevin’s whole act:
• Insurrection: Good.
• Social safety net: Bad.
• Republican voters: Easily duped.
Thanks for these outrageous lies and McCarthyism scare tactics, Kevin. Thanks a lot!
— Kim🌻 (@kim) February 2, 2023
Tensions continue to grow as the House now faces several controversies. The ethics of the pins, though questioned by the general public, have not landed Rep. Clyde under investigation at this time, and Rep. Santos continues to refuse to resign.