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Trump nominee calls American right to own semi-auto rifles ‘insane’

During a Senate hearing this week, President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as the assistant secretary for health affairs at the Defense Department told lawmakers that he believes it’s “insane” for the government to allow civilians to possess semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15.

The nominee, Dr. Dean Winslow, made the anti-2nd Amendment remark when Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) asked him if he believed a “dishonorable discharge” should have been levied against the former service member responsible for the church shooting in Texas last weekend rather than the “bad conduct discharge” which allowed the gunman to slip through the background check system and purchase the semi-automatic rifle used in the attack.

Winslow didn’t even bother providing a direct answer to the question. Instead, he questioned whether even law abiding Americans should have access to such firearms.

“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 semi-automatic assault rifle like an AR-15, which apparently was the weapon that was used,” he said after noting that the Air Force should have notified the FBI of the assault charge that led to the gunman’s military dismissal.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who turned out to be one of Winslow’s main critics during the hearing, chided the nominee for using the Armed Services hearing to take a political position on gun control.

It’s also a position in direct opposition to President Donald Trump’s current view.

In a later line of questioning via a written questionnaire, Winslow again took a position out of line with the Trump administration in suggesting the Pentagon should expand abortion services for service members.

“I also believe that therapeutic abortion services should be provided by the military in appropriately staffed facilities,” Winslow wrote.

McCain noted that Winslow’s responses veered far from GOP policy positions.

“You better clean it up doctor or you are going to have trouble getting it through the Senate,” the senator said.

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