DOUGLASTON, Queens (WABC) -- In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News reporter Chantee Lans, embattled freshman Republican congressman George Santos explained why he is backing a controversial gun bill that would declare the AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle as America's "national gun."
The wide-ranging discussion, which followed weeks of requests from Lans, covered topics from Santos' admission that he lied to voters, to what he is doing to serve his district.
Santos has co-sponsored 26 pieces of legislation since taking office, and the one that is causing the most controversy is that gun resolution.
Santos has been seen walking the halls of Congress wearing a gun button on his lapel.
He told Lans that he ran on gun rights in the race to represent New York's 3rd Congressional District, comprised of voters in Queens and Long Island.
Santos co-sponsored House Bill 1095, which would declare the AR-15 style rifle as the national gun of the U.S.
"That shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody. I've always been very clear I'm very pro Second Amendment. At the same time I'm very conscious about a mental-health crisis that we have in this country and also an accountability crisis that we have in this country," Santos said. "It's a resolution, it's more about recognition.
"It's a made-in-America gun. We have national everything, but why not have a national gun," he asked.
Santos' comments come days after a white supremacist was sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket with a semiautomatic rifle.
Gov. Kathy Hochul called the bill outrageous and appalling.
Data shows an AR-15 style rifle was used to kill at least 226 people in mass shootings since 2012.