Duckworth warns against country turning into 'war zone' of gun violence

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthDemocrats ignore Asian American and Pacific Islander voters at their peril Republicans grumble over Trump shifting military funds to wall Lawmakers mark anniversary of Martin Luther King 'I have a dream' speech MORE (D-Ill.) on Wednesday warned against the U.S. becoming a "war zone" of gun violence.

Duckworth penned an op-ed in The Washington Post railing against the accessibility of “weapons of war” following deadly mass shootings in places such as Newtown, Conn., and Parkland, Fla.

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The Illinois Democrat was serving as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot during the Iraq War in 2004 when her helicopter was hit. Duckworth's injuries cost her her legs.

She said she understands why military-grade weapons exist, noting that troops are trained by drill sergeants “until they’re so familiar with our weapons they could assembly them blindfolded.”

“But what I don’t get is why semiautomatics that U.S. service members carry around Fallujah are being sold to teenagers at the corner gun store,” Duckworth wrote.

She noted a 2017 study which found that more Americans have been killed by gun violence over the past 50 years than in every war in U.S. history combined. 

Last year marked a record-high for gun-related deaths in the U.S. in nearly four decades, according to new data released from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's WONDER database.

Children walking into school should not be “entering a combat zone,” Duckworth wrote.

“I went to Iraq because I felt it my duty to be there. I chose to risk my life, to be shot at, to serve this country. These kids didn’t,” she continued.

Duckworth, who earlier this year became the first woman to give birth while serving in the Senate, called for commonsense bills to strengthen background checks.

“Because no one should kneel in their pew, sit down at their desk or dance on a Saturday night with the fear that every prayer, every lesson, every song could be their last,” she wrote. “No other school should be better known for the blood that was shed in its classrooms than the curriculum taught there.”