Trump DOD nominee: 'Insane' that civilians can buy assault rifles

Trump DOD nominee: 'Insane' that civilians can buy assault rifles
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A nominee for a top Defense Department post said Tuesday he thinks it’s "insane" that civilians can buy assault rifles in the United States, days after a deadly mass shooting in Texas.

“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 semiautomatic assault rifle like an AR-15,” said Dean Winslow, nominee for assistant secretary of Defense for health affairs, during a Tuesday hearing.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMellman: Memories may be beautiful, yet… Schumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State Arizona GOP blocked from changing rules on filling McCain's seat MORE (R-Ariz.) interjected, telling Winslow, "I don't think that's in your area of responsibility or expertise."

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Winslow’s remarks come two days after a gunman used an assault rifle to kill at least 26 people and injure 20 others at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Authorities identified the gunman as 26-year-old Devin Kelley. Kelley had served in the Air Force but was court-martialed in 2012 after he assaulted his wife and stepson.

However, the Air Force failed to enter Kelley’s conviction into a federal database, a move that could have prevented him from purchasing a rifle.

Winslow's comments before the committee came after Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenators pledge to pursue sanctions against Turkey over imprisoned American pastor Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination Menendez rips characterization of Pompeo as 'nation's top diplomat' MORE (D-N.H.) asked him if he believed individuals with domestic violence convictions should be given a dishonorable discharge from the military instead of a bad conduct discharge, which Kelley received.

His response broke with that of President Trump, who on Monday said the incident was the result of a mental health issue, not a “guns situation.”