Florida Republican Rep. Brian Mast has penned an op-ed for the New York Times in which he comes out in support of an assault weapons ban.
Mast starts his opinion piece by recalling the dozen years he spent in the Army. The war hero, who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb detonated below him, obviously always had a firearm on him. In civilian life, he is a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association and he conceal carries a pistol.
Mast uses this context to show he appreciates firearms and how they can serve to protect individuals. But, some firearms simply should not be accessible to civilians, he goes on to argue. One of the firearms he carried with him on the battlefield, he explained, was very similar to the AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon Nikolas Cruz used to kill 17 people in Parkland, FL last week. It should not be available for civilian purchase.
I have fired tens of thousands of rounds through that rifle, many in combat. We used it because it was the most lethal — the best for killing our enemies. And I know that my community, our schools and public gathering places are not made safer by any person having access to the best killing tool the Army could put in my hands. I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend.
While "no" firearm is inherently evil, Mast says, "the rifle of choice for many mass shooters is the AR-15."
He added that he is also supportive of legislation that requires every gun purchaser to have a background check and raising the age limit for certain firearm purchases and ensuring that individuals with a history of mental illness cannot purchase firearms at all.
MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough commended Mast for the "significant" op-ed.
This is significant. A Republican war hero sides with families close to home who lost their children. https://t.co/83OrKkNKR1— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) February 23, 2018
Meanwhile, in a case of irony, a House Democrat, Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan, has come out against a ban on semi-automatic weapons.
President Trump offered an alternative solution, saying we need to arm more teachers and security guards in schools.