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Opinion: AR-15 doesn’t need 'national gun' designation

H.R. 1095, the AR–15 National Gun Act, co-sponsored by Georgia's 9th Congressional District Representative, Andrew Clyde, along with Marjorie Taylor Greene and George Santos, raises serious concerns. With a background of controversy and questionable ethics surrounding these co-sponsors, the bill's proposal to designate the AR-15 as the "national gun" is deeply troubling. It is worth asking, as Andy Wiessner did, if this is a cruel joke.

As someone who served in both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, I vehemently oppose this bill.

I am intimately familiar with the M-16 and M-4 rifles, the military counterparts of the AR-15. These weapons, developed for warfare, are highly efficient in destroying “the enemy”. Sadly, the AR-15 has become synonymous with mass shootings. Schools, shopping malls, and even places of worship have not been immune to the devastating consequences of its use.

H.R. 1095 seeks to glorify the AR-15, a weapon that symbolizes division, fear and tragedy. However, it is crucial to clarify that opposing this bill does not equate to stripping law-abiding citizens of firearms designed for hunting, recreation, or self-defense. As a gun owner myself, I agree that gun ownership should be protected. I also recognize and exercise, as should we all, the rights and responsibilities inherent in that ownership.

Our efforts should focus on key aspects that prioritize the safety and security of our citizens. This includes fostering responsible gun ownership, strengthening background checks, allocating mental health resources, and crucially, restricting access to military-grade weaponry to enlisted individuals actively engaged in combat operations. By implementing sensible measures, we can simultaneously protect both the Second Amendment and second graders.

Congressman Clyde, I implore you to prioritize the well-being of the American people and your constituents above all else. We must acknowledge that the indiscriminate use of weapons like the AR-15 affects us all. Let us demonstrate the will to enact comprehensive measures that safeguard lives and uphold our shared values. And let us acknowledge that the victims whose bodies were mangled and whose lives were tragically cut short by military-grade weaponry were not "the enemy." Neither are the rest of us. 

Devin Pandy