Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
- Some GOP lawmakers have been seen wearing lapel pins in the shape of miniature AR-15 rifles.
- Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde, who owns a gun store, has taken responsibility for handing them out.
- One Democratic congressman said that wearing the pins “isn’t the flex you think it is.”
Recently, Republican members of Congress, Rep. George Santos and Rep. Anna Paulina Luna have been spotted wearing lapel pins resembling miniature AR-15 rifles.
“Where are these assault weapon pins coming from? Who is passing these out?” Democratic Rep. Jimmy Gomez tweeted.
—Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) February 1, 2023
In another tweet, Gomez noted that Luna had worn the pin at an Oversight hearing less than 48 hours after her state of Florida experienced a mass shooting that wounded 11 people.
“This isn’t the flex you think it is,” Gomez said.
The mystery of the lapel pins has now been solved. Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde from Georgia owns a gun store and has now taken responsibility for handing them out.
“I hear that this little pin I’ve been giving out on the House floor has been triggering some of my Democrat colleagues,” he said in a video posted to Twitter. “Well, I give it out to remind people of the Second Amendment of the Constitution and how important it is in preserving our liberties.”
He also invited other representatives who wanted a pin to stop by his office.
The congressman owns Clyde Armory in Athens, which makes millions selling military-style rifles, body armor, ammunition, and other weapon accessories.
His handing out of the lapel pins comes after there have been an estimated 54 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Democratic Rep. Cori Bush noted that lawmakers wore the pins during National Gun Violence Survivors Week.
Other Democratic lawmakers also commented on the pins, with Rep. Dina Titus tweeting: “Weapons of war have no place on our streets, much less on our lapels.”
Clyde is not the only Republican lawmaker to be handing out unusual objects – Rep. Cory Mills handed out inert grenades to his colleagues as a welcome gift last week.