— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) February 16, 2016
Republican candidate Jeb Bush made a campaign stop at a firearm manufacturer in Columbia, S.C., on Tuesday, marking the occasion with a pithy tweet of a handgun that has gone viral on social media
The short tweet includes only the word "America." (with a period for emphasis) and a picture of a .45-caliber handgun engraved with his name: "Gov. Jeb Bush."
The black semiautomatic pistol is made by FN America, which has a manufacturing plant in Columbia, the capital of the next early state in primary voting.
Gun rights have become a central tenet of the Republican campaign for president, with each candidate touting their record with the NRA and history of firearm ownership.
The handgun tweet posted by Bush came after a tour and town hall with employees at the FN plant. The tweet has exploded online and has the potential to boost his image among Southerners beyond South Carolina who value the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms.
But the manufacturer of the handgun shown in Bush's picture has a history of its own. While the company is known as FN America, it is actually a subsidiary of FN Herstal, a foreign corporation based in Belgium. And for decades, the company was known as Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre.
During World War II, the company was requisitioned by the Nazi military and its factories produced thousands of weapons for Axis troops, including pistols carried by Nazi officers and pilots. One model, the Browning-designed Hi-Power, was used by both the Allies and Axis powers during the war, with FN factories manufacturing a version of the popular handgun for the German military.
But that was in the past. Today, FN Herstal supplies countless arms to the U.S. military, including the popular M4 carbine as well as the M240 machine gun and the MK19 automatic grenade launcher.
No word on whether the former Florida governor got any one of those engraved, too.