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Democrats say Republicans - including George Santos - wearing assault weapon pins ‘isn’t the flex you think it is’

Congress Santos (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Congress Santos (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

House Democrats criticised freshman Republicans, including embattled Representative George Santos, for wearing assault rifle pins on Capitol Hill.

Democratic Representative Jimmy Gomez of California tweeted out photos of Representatives Anna Paulina Luna of Florida and Mr Santos of New York wearing lapel pins in the shape of an assault weapon.

“Where are these assault weapon pins coming from? Who is passing these out?” he tweeted.

Ms Luna wore one during a hearing for the House Oversight and Accountability Committee on Wednesday while the embattled Mr Santos wore one during a speech on the House floor.

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

Earlier in the week, 11 people were hurt in a mass shooting in Lakeland, Florida.

In images shared by Los Angeles Times photojournalist Kent Nishimura, the pin can be seen clearly on Mr Santos.

This was not the only confrontation that Democrats and Republicans had about firearms on the Hill this week. On Wednesday, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman whether he thought it was acceptable for members to bring firearms to the committee.

“The chair believes that members of the Natural Resources Committee should follow the House rules and the guidance of Capitol police,” he said.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez responded by saying that members have different interpretations of the rules. The question came after the GOP struck down a rule that would prevent members from bringing a firearm into the committee.

“I need to know for a sense of my own personal safety what your interpretation of the House rules are as it pertains to this issue,” she said.

Mr Westerman said that she should take it up with the House Administration Committee.

“So, we are seeing that the chair, who is responsible for the enforcement of these rules, does have a specific interpretation of whether firearms should be or not be permitted,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said, following up by asking if he had consulted with the Administration Committee.

Mr Westerman said “the committee has not been in consultation with the House Administration because it’s an amendment, that’s not necessary,” before noting it was the only committee that had an amendment about bringing in a firearm and that was put in when Democrats controlled the House.

“So just, in summary, the decision as to whether the chair believes that firearms should be permitted in this committee is determined by House admin, but the committee has not been in touch with House admin whether this should or should not be allowed,” she said. “And so therefore, we’re going to leave this ambiguous.”

In response, Mr Westerman said it is up to every member of the House to follow the House rules.