If you read anything today, read this: A Washington Post op-ed by Dean Winslow, a retired Air Force surgeon with bloody time in the ground in the Middle East, who writes of the end of his nomination for a Defense Department post because he’d spoken his mind on guns, specifically the insanity of easy availability of military-style semi-automatic AR-15s.
This is a man, and a Stanford professor of medicine, who knows weapons, who’s used weapons and understands their use.
I am a marksman, rated expert in both the M-9 pistol and the M-16 rifle (the fully automatic military version of the AR-15). During one of my tours in Iraq, I spent hours with my Special Operations forces colleagues who were training Iraqi teams on our base, firing an array of military weapons. Using a powerful gun at a firing range is a real blast, and I support civilians experiencing that thrill at licensed ranges.
However, as commander of an Air Force hospital in Baghdad during the surge, I have seen what these weapons do to human beings. The injuries are devastating. In addition, because of their high muzzle velocities, assault weapons are challenging for untrained civilians to control and are not optimal for home defense. A pump-action 12-gauge shotgun, with its excellent stopping power, would be far better. Even with imperfect aim, a shotgun will hit its target, while the pellets won’t go through a wall to endanger someone in the next room. Assault rifles are also poor hunting weapons due to low accuracy beyond 100 yards.
But with a standard 30-round magazine, assault rifles are perfect for mass murder. From 1995 to 2004, assault weapons were severely restricted in the United States. During that time, mass shootings were far less frequent — 1.6 compared with 4.2 per year after the ban lapsed in 2005. The experience in Australia is even more dramatic: No mass shootings have occurred there since assault weapons were outlawed in 1996. Assault weapons in the United States are not being used to kill “bad guys” in self-defense or to provide for a “well-regulated militia” but for entertainment, mass murder and domestic terrorism. Is this really the intent of the Second Amendment?
The surprise is that he got so close to a job in the Trump administration.