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Lauren Boebert’s AR-15 comments spark backlash after Maine mass shooting

Lauren Boebert faced backlash following comments made on social media about the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. This follows Wednesday’s mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, which left 18 people dead and 13 injured.

A gunman, identified by authorities as Robert Card, a 40-year-old Marine reservist, opened fire at the Just-in-Time Recreation bowling alley and Schemengees Bar & Grille restaurant before fleeing. On Friday, Maine Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck confirmed that Card’s body was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The shooting has reignited the fierce debate over gun control in the United States, with horror writer Stephen King calling the current legislation “madness in the name of freedom.” The Gun Violence Archive says there have been 567 mass shootings in the United States so far in 2023, of which the one in Lewiston was the deadliest.

However, Boebert took a very different view, lashing out Friday at those calling for tighter gun restrictions. The Colorado representative posted on X, formerly Twitter: “I’m not going to be lectured on gun safety by people who think the “AR” in AR-15 stands for “assault rifle.” »

The “AR” in AR-15 stands for ArmaLite, the company that designed the gun in the 1950s before selling it to Colt’s Manufacturing Company. A number of companies produce versions of the AR-15, Colt’s patient expired in the 1970s, and one was used in the Lewiston mass shooting.

Boebert then shared a clip of ABC daytime talk show host Joy Behar View, stating, “If you shoot an AR-15, let’s say you shoot a deer, you can’t eat it because you’re demolishing the animal.”

The Colorado Republican added: “As I said earlier this morning, these are the people who want to talk to us about gun safety.” News week contacted Rep. Boebert for comment via email.

Earlier this year, Boebert co-sponsored a bill with other Republican lawmakers calling for the AR-15 to be officially designated the “national pistol of the United States.”

The HuntStand website states that “the popularity of the AR-15 has spread to casual shooters and hunters, particularly deer hunters.”

Boebert’s comments sparked backlash from other X users, including Andrew Wortman, who has more than 236,000 followers on the platform. He commented: “Who would you listen to about gun safety, @laurenboebert? One of the dozens of police officers whose lives you claim to value above all others who are gunned down every year? How about the inventor of the AR-15 who said he never intended or imagined using it for civilian purposes? »

David Hogg, president of March for Our Lives, which campaigns for stricter gun controls, responded: “For those wondering, that means ArmaLite, which was one of the first companies to produce the AR-15. Either way, the reality is that semi-automatic rifles are far from available. more deadly than muskets. Not only are the rounds more accurate and travel faster, but it takes much less time to fire and reload.

Representative Lauren Boebert arrives at a Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on September 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. The Colorado representative came under attack after responding to the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, by criticizing those who think the “AR” in AR-15 stands for automatic rifle.
Anna Moneymaker/GETTY

A third X user, with over 57,000 followers, posted: “Someone tell Lauren Boebert that no one gives a damn if the ‘AR’ in AR-15 stands for Armalite Rifle or Angry Rhinoceros or Abhorrent Republican. The fact is: no citizen has any interest in possessing these instruments of mass death. »

However, not everyone was as critical, with another X user responding: “Individual actions should not infringe on American rights.” People who are afraid of freedom should emigrate to China. »