Alabama Republican wants to proudly enshrine the AR-15 as America’s ‘national gun’

Alabama Republican Congressman Barry Moore has put forward a bill making the AR-15 assault rifle the “national gun” of the US.

Mr Moore visited a gun shop in Troy in the southern part of the state on Tuesday, revealing the legislation.

“The anti-Second Amendment group won’t stop until they take away all your firearms,” he claimed in a statement after announcing the proposed law at Family Firearms, according to “One rule to remember: any government that would take away one right would take away them all.”

“The Second Amendment is as American a right as freedom of speech, religion, and the press,” he added. “Second Amendment rights are worth protecting and must not be infringed, and we must send a message that we will meet every attack on any of our constitutional rights.”

Congressional records show that the full text of the bill hasn’t been provided, but the law would “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”.

Family Firearms owner Sonny Parker said in a statement that “every day we are battling those in Washington trying to take away our Second Amendment rights”.

Rep Barry Moore visits Family Firearms in Troy, Alabama (Twitter / Rep Barry Moore)
Rep Barry Moore visits Family Firearms in Troy, Alabama (Twitter / Rep Barry Moore)
Rep Barry Moore visits Family Firearms in Troy, Alabama (Twitter / Rep Barry Moore)
Rep Barry Moore visits Family Firearms in Troy, Alabama (Twitter / Rep Barry Moore)

“We’re extremely thankful for men like Congressman Barry Moore who are willing to go to war for us, stand up for our Second Amendment rights and battle those who continue to take those away from us,” he added.

Following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, CBS’s 60 Minutes named the AR-15 “the weapon of choice of the worst mass murderers”.

Variations of the AR-15, in addition to other firearms, were used in scores of mass shootings over the past decade and beyond, according to USA Today and 60 Minutes.

The Independent has reached out to the office of Mr Moore for comment.

The weapon used in the Pulse nightclub shooting that killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida on 12 June 2016 is very similar to an AR-15, but according to Slate, it is “technically” not a variant of it.

“The guts of the Sig MCX are different from those of the standard AR-15 platform,” the outlet noted.

The “AR” in AR-15 stands for Armalite rifle after the firm that created the weapon, according to The Washington Post. It was initially used in the Vietnam War as an alternative to the M-14, which The Post describes as “heavy, difficult to control and outmatched by the AK-47”.

The AR-15 is semiautomatic, meaning that the user has to pull the trigger once for each bullet fired. Its military counterpart is the M-16 which replaced the M-14.

Cynthia Bir of the University of Southern California spoke to 60 Minutes last year about the difference between an AR-15 and a handgun.

“There’s going to be a lot more damage to the tissues, both bones, organs, whatever gets kind of even near this bullet path. The bones aren’t going to just break, they’re going to shatter. Organs aren’t just going to tear or have bruises on them ... parts of them are going to be destroyed,” she said at the time.

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban stopped the sale of the AR-15 between 1994 and 2004 but when the measure expired without being renewed, it went back on sale and has “been a great boon to the firearms industry ever since,” Slate noted.

Some Republican members of Congress, including Representatives Anna Paulina Luna of Florida and George Santos of New York, were seen earlier this month wearing lapel pins in the shape of assault rifles, prompting criticism from Democrats.

“Anna Paulina Luna wore an assault weapon pin at today’s Oversight hearing — less than 48 hours after her state experienced a mass shooting,” Democratic Representative Jimmy Gomez of California tweeted on 1 February. “You can’t make this s*** up. This isn’t the flex you think it is.”

Earlier that same week, 11 people were injured in a shooting in Lakeland, Florida.