AR-15 Trends as GOP Members of Congress Wear Pins Depicting the Weapon

The pins reportedly spread throughout Congress from Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia.
By Madison E. Goldberg
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

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.

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.

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.

Some felt the pins only promoted gun sales that would end up profiting the NRA and further inciting violence.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.