In early November, it was widely reported that Trump Department of Defense nominee Dr. Dean Winslow had problems with private ownership of AR-15s, and on November 20, Winslow wrote a Washington Post op-ed to announce he had withdrawn his name from DoD consideration.
Winslow explained that he was not able to give the Senate Armed Services Committee what they wanted inasmuch as he does “not support the unrestricted ownership of semiautomatic assault weapons by civilians.”
On November 8, Breitbart News quoted from Winslow’s Armed Services Committee testimony, wherein he responded to the Air Force’s failure to report pertinent information to the background check system by saying, “I’d also like to, and I may get in trouble with other members of the committee, just say how insane it is that in the United States of America a civilian can go out and buy a fully auto, or a semi-automatic assault rifle like an AR-15, which apparently was the weapon that was used [in the Texas attack].”
On November 20, Winslow used his WaPo op-ed to try to explain his support for gun control:
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.
Winslow went on to suggest shotguns are better for home defense and “assault rifles are … poor hunting weapons.”
He then touted the Australian approach to banning guns and suggested that “assault weapons” are not used for self-defense in the United States.
Ironically, armed citizen Stephen Willeford used an AR-15 to stop the Texas church shooting on November 5, 2017. Prior to that, on March 27, 2017, three home intruders were shot and killed with an AR-15 in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Before that, on May 12, 2014, a Vance County, North Carolina, homeowner used an AR-15 to fight off a home invader armed with a handgun. On February 17, 2014, a Detroit mother used an “assault weapon” to repel a home invader armed with a handgun. And the list goes on.
On October 16, 2017, Breitbart News reported that the FBI Uniform Crime Report shows that more than four times as many people were stabbed to death in 2016 than were killed with rifles of any kind. Yet Winslow is singling out one genre of rifles for gun control.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.