Is a Congressional Bill to make the AR-15 America’s “National Gun” is a warranted pushback against the erosion of Second Amendment rights, or just high-level political trolling – or deliberately antagonizing ideological opponents?
It’s too early to tell, one Wyoming gun rights lobbyist told Cowboy State Daily.
Gun Owners of America as of Monday was refraining from taking an official stance on H.R. 1095, because the full text of the bill hadn’t been released, spokesman Mark Jones of Buffalo said.
According to the bill’s title, it would make the AR-15 “chambered in a .223 Remington round or a 5.56×45 mm NATO round” the “National Gun of The United States.”
If the intent of the bill was mostly to troll political opposition, it apparently worked.
One of the bill’s four sponsors, Alabama Republican Rep. Barry Moore, last week went to a gun store in Troy, Alabama to publicly announce the measure.
The reaction from liberal commentators was swift and scathing.
MSNBC commentator Alex Wagner declared that Moore was essentially glamorizing mass murder.
“… Congressman Barry Moore’s point was not that we should loosen the death grip that the AR-15 has on our culture. Congress Moore wants to tighten the grip,” she said.
On their YouTube channel, panelists on the popular Young Turks program particularly took to task New York Republican George Santos for co-sponsoring the bill.
The program’s founder, Cenk Uygur acknowledge that it could have been a shrewd move on Santos’ part of galvanize his right-leaning base.
“That’s politically well-played,” Uygur said.
Closer to the Cowboy state, Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert is another of the bill’s co-sponsors.
Young Turks panelist Brian Unger sarcastically remarked that there should be similar moves to make fentanyl the national drug, pit bulls the national dog and “the Tesla with the automatic driving system should be the official car.”
Meanwhile, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel had a predictable meltdown sarcastically calling the bills’ sponsors “heroes.”
“And the next time there’s a mass shooting with an AR-15, which will probably be by the end of the week, we will know who to thank: the four gun whores of the apocalypse,” Kimmel said.
ARs Back In The News
Critics of the AR-15 argue that it has been used in numerous recent mass murders, is essentially designed for mass killing, and should therefore be banned.
Proponents argue that millions of ARs are privately owned in America, and never used for nefarious purposes.
President Joe Biden earlier this year urged Congress to try passing another “assault weapons ban.”
In response, another of the bill’s sponsors, Georgia Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde began passing out “AR-15” lapel pins, fashioned to look like the rifle.
No Denying The Popularity
Regardless of the continued political controversy over it, the AR platform remains one of America’s most popular firearms, Jones said.
It’s been estimated that as many as 20-25 million AR-style firearms are privately owned across the country, he said. That could account for as many as 40 % of all the rifles Americans own.
The AR-15 and similar rifles are popular because they’re reliable, accurate and easy to customize, he said. Gun enthusiasts can buy the components separately and build their own rifles exactly the way they want them.
That’s not possible with many other types of firearms, Jones added.
“To custom-build your own bolt-action rifle, you basically have to be a skilled gunsmith,” he said.
AR-15s are increasingly popular among competitive target and long-distance shooters, Jones said.
In previous interviews, some Wyoming hunters told Cowboy State Daily that ARs can also make good hunting rifles.