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GOP Lawmakers Ditch Flag Pins for AR-15-Shaped Ones

One Democratic lawmaker called the pins "an insult to all of the victims of assault weapons" in the U.S.

Reporters surround embattled Rep. George Santos as he heads to the House Chamber for a vote, at the U.S. Capitol on January 31, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

At least two Republican members of Congress were seen wearing lapel pins in the shape of an AR-15 rifle while conducting official business in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, when two mass shootings took place in the U.S.

Tweets showing Rep. George Santos (R-New York) and Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Florida) wearing the pins went viral as many users pointed out the already high number of mass shootings that have occurred in the country since the start of the new year.

It’s likely that the two wore the pins all day long (in lieu of the U.S. flag pins they usually wear), as the Republican lawmakers were seen on House cameras, in footage that aired on C-SPAN, wearing the pins at different places in the Capitol — Santos, for instance, was seen wearing an AR-15 pin while giving a speech on the House floor, while Luna wore hers on camera while participating in a House Oversight Committee hearing.

Many lawmakers said that wearing a pin depicting a weapon that is frequently chosen by mass shooters was insensitive to people whose loved ones have been murdered in such shootings.

“To be promoting them on the floor of the House, is despicable and I think an insult to all of the victims of assault weapons,” Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-New York) said.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-California) said that the pins lacked “common decency.”

“Anna Paulina Luna wore an assault weapon pin at today’s Oversight hearing — less than 48 hours after her state experienced a mass shooting,” Gomez said on Twitter. “You can’t make this sh*t up.”

That same day, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) gave a speech on the House floor championing unregulated gun ownership, lamenting the fact that the U.S. doesn’t account for more than 46 percent of all civilian-owned guns in the world.

“We need to get our numbers up, boys and girls,” Boebert said.

Gun violence experts have presented evidence suggesting that the vast amount of guns in the U.S. corresponds to the country having a higher homicide rate than other wealthy nations on the globe.

In 2022, there were 648 mass shootings, an 86 percent increase from just five years prior. Since the start of 2023, there have been more than 50 mass shootings — including at least two on the day Santos and Luna wore their AR-15 pins. If current trends keep up, there will have been around 600 mass shootings this year by December 31.

Should the U.S. exceed 600 mass shootings in 2023, this would be the fourth year in a row that that many mass shootings took place within a single calendar year.

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