In a time when mass shootings have become all too common and the nation is honoring survivors of gun violence, a lawmaker has taken it upon himself to make a statement. Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.) has been handing out lapel pins shaped like assault rifles to fellow GOP lawmakers, sparking outrage from Democrats.
Clyde, who owns a gun store, made a video about his efforts, saying the pins were to “remind people of the Second Amendment of the Constitution and how important it is in preserving our liberties.” Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) noticed the pins and posted images of two GOP members wearing them on their lapels, only two days after a mass shooting in Florida wounded 11 people. Gomez tweeted, “Where are these assault weapon pins coming from? Who is passing these out? This isn’t the flex you think it is.”
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) pointed out that GOP lawmakers were wearing the lapel pins during National Gun Violence Survivors Week. Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) declared, “Weapons of war have no place on our streets, much less on our lapels.”
The pins are not the only controversial items being distributed around the Capitol. Newly elected Rep. Cory Mills (R-Fla.) passed out dummy grenades stamped with the GOP logo last week to other members of Congress, with a note on his office letterhead emphasizing that the ordnance was made in Florida.
Though some may not agree with Clyde’s message, he is certainly making a statement. It is a reminder of the importance of the Second Amendment and the need for all sides to come together to find solutions to the gun violence epidemic.