12:04 pm Oct. 12, 20123
Charlie Rangel, the long-serving, fiercely pro-gun-control congressman, appears to have the honor of having an assault rifle named for him.
Mississippi Auto Arms, a shop "specializing in Saiga shotguns, Saiga rifles, AK47s, and AR15s" out of Oxford, Mississippi, is selling a "Charlie Rangel edition" of a short-barrel AK-style assault rifle on its website.
"Like Rangel, this little Suchka AK rifle loves the green and hides well in spinach," says the listing. ("Loves the green" could be a reference to Rangel's tax travails; I am not sure how "hides well in spinach" applies to the congressman.)
The gun weighs about 11 pounds and starts at $1,195, depending on how it's customized.
A person I spoke with at Mississippi Auto Arms said he believed the model was, in fact, named for the congressman, but said I'd have to speak with the owner for any further information about why. (I'll update if I hear back.) A spokesperson for Rangel declined to comment until it could be confirmed that it is, in fact, named for the congressman.
Rangel, a Korean War veteran, has been one of the Congress's most outspoken proponents of gun control, a posture that has occasionally drawn notice on pro-gun message boards.
Some conservative sites assert that Rangel perpetrated a "fraud" that drastically altered the nation's gun laws.
In 1986, Rangel chaired a committee hearing on the Hughes Amendment, which prohibited owning fully automatic machine guns manufactured after that date. Conservatives argue that a voice vote on the amendment actually failed, and that there was a recorded vote that also failed, and thus the amendment should have not been included in the final bill and might even be illegal.
"Roberts Rules of Conduct were ignored, a roll call vote was ignored, the Congressional Record was selectively 'erased' and this has resulted in innocent people being jailed or worse yet, murdered by over zealous Federal Agents because of Charlie Rangel and his personal anti-gun agenda," says a post on the site Free Republic.
UPDATE: Nathan Yow, the owner of Mississippi Auto Arms, explained the inspiration for name in an email:
"The description you cite in your article is an homage to Congressman Rangel and former Congressman William Jefferson. As you know, Congressman Rangel has done his best over the years to restrict the right of law abiding citizens to own firearms. He has also over the years had some very hostile words for the State of Mississippi that we have still not forgotten.
"As such we've wanted to honor Congressman Charlie Rangel's legacy for some time, both with regard to his role in the adoption of the Hughes Amendment in 1986 as well as his 2006 statement 'Who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?' What better way to recognize this paragon of virtue than to recognize him with a green highly restricted semi-automatic AK-47 short barrel rifle.
"We had intended to donate the rifle to the Congressman until our attorney advised that the rifle is not legal for individuals to own in New York state. The special Rangel edition of our AK Short Barrel Rifle is not actually for sale but is the designation for a sample gun that shows customers the many green options available on our custom rifles.
"The quote 'Like Rangel, this little Suchka AK rifle loves the green and hides well in spinach' is a reference to the size and green color of the rifle and the problem of public corruption. You correctly surmised that 'loves the green' refers to Rangel's House corruption charges. In the case of the rifle its design with green furniture is stylistically one of our most popular designs yet. It is the perfect union of beauty and functionality, equally at home in the deer stand or on display.
"The reference to 'hides well in the spinach' is a reference to the small size of the rifle in that it could fit into your freezer and also references the public corruption charges former Congressman William Jefferson faced for hiding some $90,000 in his freezer in frozen spinach boxes. We would have liked to have seen a prosecution of Congressman Rangel, but have honored him this way instead."