A U.S. congressman has put forth legislation to make AR-15 style rifles the nation’s official gun.
Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.) introduced H.R. 1095, which the title states is “To 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.”
The full text of the bill has not yet been released.
While many believe the letters “AR” stand for “Assault Rifle,” they actually refer to the name of an American firearms manufacturer called ArmaLite. The company’s AR-15 rifle is a select-fire, gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle designed to be lightweight. ArmaLite sold the rights to its AR-15 to Colt in 1959.
Other manufacturers have created similarly styled rifles, which, despite not being actual Colt rifles, often get mislabeled AR-15s or “assault weapons.”
Any civilian AR-15 style rifle is not fully automatic, but semi-automatic, meaning its functionality is the same as many hunting rifles and nearly all handguns.
Moore announced the legislation on social media by championing the Americans’ constitutional right to own and carry firearms.
“The #SecondAmendment is as American a right as freedom of speech, religion, & the press,” Moore wrote on Twitter. “Today I unveiled my bill to make the AR-15 the National Gun of America. We must send a message that we will meet every attack on any of our constitutional rights.”
Moore’s post was met with both cheers and outrage.
AR-15 style rifles are the most popular sporting rifles in America. While critics often state the firearm needs to be banned because of its use in crimes like mass shootings, FBI data shows that murders committed with rifles are lower than by other means.
In 2019, 364 murders were committed with rifles. That year, there were 6,368 homicides committed with a handgun.
More than four times as many people (1,476) were killed with knives than rifles. Annually, more people are killed by blunt objects (hammers, clubs, etc) than by rifles, and more people are killed by hands, fists, and feet than by rifles.
Despite their low use in crimes of any kind — including mass shootings, where handguns are most commonly used — tactical style weapons are commonly targeted for legislative proposals seeking to ban them.