New York Governor Kathy Hochul has criticized Congressman George Santos for backing a measure that would designate the AR-15 rifle as the "National Gun of the United States."

Santos, who represents a Long Island district, is cosponsoring the bill with fellow Republicans Andrew Clyde of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.

In a statement released Thursday, Hochul said it is "outrageous and appalling" that Santos would attach his name to the legislation.

Hochul said "this weapon of war" has been used in mass shootings across the country, including at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo "where the shooter used a modified AR-15 to murder ten people in a despicable act of white supremist terror."

Authorities said 18-year-old Payton Gendron of Conklin bought the semi-automatic Bushmaster XM-15 rifle at an Endicott gun shop.

The proposed legislation supported by Santos would "declare an AR-15 style rifle chambered in a .223 Remington round or a 5.56x45mm NATO round" the "national gun."

Hochul said the bill "which attempts to glorify the weapons" that often have been used in mass shootings "adds unforgivable insult to injury" for those who have lost loved ones to such violence.

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: or (607) 545-2250. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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