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Republican Lawmaker Defies NRA And GOP Leadership, Calls For Ban On Assault Weapons

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Republican Lawmaker Defies NRA And GOP Leadership, Calls For Ban On Assault Weapons

In a clear break from the National Rifle Association and President Donald Trump, Republican congressman Brian Mast (Fla.) issued a sharp critique of assault weapons and announced his support for a ban on semiautomatic firearms.

Mast, an Army veteran who himself carries a concealed pistol, said in op-ed in The New York Times that he supports “defining what constitutes an assault or tactical firearm and not allowing them for future purchase.”

The Florida lawmaker said the rifle he used during combat in Afghanistan is “very similar to the AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon used to kill students, teachers and a coach I knew at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where I once lived.”

His combat weapon, he said, was “the best for killing our enemies.” And for that reason, he said, “I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend.”

While defending the Second Amendment, Mast said: “It does not guarantee that every civilian can bear any and all arms.”

In addition to calling for a ban on future assault weapon sales, Mast said he supports universal background checks, a ban on the sale of “accessories and add-ons that circumvent the ban on automatic firearms” and a ban on gun sales to individuals who “have been detained for mental illness” or are “being looked at as a possible terrorist” by the government.

Mast’s op-ed came at the end of a week-long national conversation on gun violence and gun rights that led to a major backlash against the NRA with several companies breaking ties with the pro-gun lobbying group.

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