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As a Republican and Iraq war veteran, I support an assault weapons ban

I am disappointed that an assault weapons ban will not be included in the Senate bill on gun control. The argument of those who claim a right to own 'military capable' rifles is inconsistent with the Constitution I swore to support and defend while I was deployed to Iraq.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill Feb. 25. Ms. Feinstein says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said her proposed assault weapons ban will not be part of the gun-control measure the Senate will debate next month. Op-ed contributor Steven L. Katz says opponents to gun control are championing 'personal selfishness at the expense of other Americans’ right to life.'

J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File

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Like many Americans, I am disappointed that the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban will not be included in the Senate bill on gun control. It is my hope that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California, who introduced the legislation, will bring the assault weapons ban provision to the floor as a separate measure in the form of an amendment.

I am also eager to break the misconception that most gun-control advocates are predominantly left-leaning, big government Democrats, and advance the national dialogue on why America needs new gun-control legislation to limit the legal accessibility of “military capable” rifles, such as the semi-automatic AR-15 and high-capacity magazines.

I have so-called “street cred.” I am a registered Republican, worked at the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI), voted for George W. Bush not once, but twice, and served two tours in Iraq as an Army officer where I experienced extensive ground combat. I support America’s Second Amendment rights, the idea of small government, and the sacrosanct personal liberties entrusted to the American people by the Constitution.

However, the more I engage former military colleagues, friends, and family members on gun violence in America, the less I understand this debate to be about personal liberties and the ability to protect oneself and family from either marauding criminal gangs or a tyrannical government, and the more I see this debate to be about personal selfishness at the expense of other Americans’ right to life.


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