Rep. Brian Mast hopes to raise ‘assault weapons’ ban with Trump


Most Republicans have not embraced the call by freshman Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City,  for a ban on “assault weapons” in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, but Mast said Tuesday that some of his GOP colleagues have privately quizzed him on how the proposal is going over with his constituents.

Mast said he also hopes to raise the issue with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, when the president hosts a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House to discuss gun legislation and other measures in response to the 17 deaths in Parkland.

“I’m hopeful. I think having a conversation with the president can help move that,” Mast said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

As for his fellow House Republicans, Mast said, “There have been a pretty good swath of people that have been feeling me out, asking ‘What’s the reaction been back home?’ I tell them it’s a mixed bag of people back home.”

Mast, a decorated Army combat veteran who campaigned in 2016 as a Second Amendment supporter with the backing of the National Rifle Association, surprised many in the GOP when he announced in a New York Times op-ed on Friday that he wants Congress to define “what constitutes an assault or tactical firearm” and ban future sales of such weapons.

While Congress grapples with that issue, Mast said he wants Trump to “implement an immediate pause” on the sale of AR-15-style weapons, that were used in the mass shootings in Parkland this month, Las Vegas last year and the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando in 2016.

A few Republicans appear open to the idea.

Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., called Mast’s op-ed “right on point” in a Sunday MSNBC interview , but cautioned that coming up with a definition of an assault rifle is difficult. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami, told The Miami Herald that “everything should be on the table” when he was asked about an assault weapons ban. A Philadelphia-area paper, The Intelligencer, last week quoted Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., as saying: “if prohibiting the sale of these military-style assault weapons will solve the problem, we need to get on board with it.”

In crafting an assault weapons ban, Mast said Congress should not include all semiautomatic weapons.

While a machine gun fires a continuous stream of bullets while the trigger is pulled, a semiautomatic firearm requires the shooter to pull the trigger separately for each round fired.

Mast said a semiautomatic requires “putting a thought into every round…I think that’s a fair standard for anybody that wants to be a law-abiding citizen.”

Mast said he’s heard from supporters of gun rights who believe that no firearm should be restricted because of the Second Amendment guarantee that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Mast disagreed. In his New York Times piece, he called the Second Amendment “unimpeachable” but noted that “the purchase of fully automatic firearms is largely banned already, and I cannot purchase an AT-4 rocket, grenades, a Bradley fighting vehicle or an Abrams tank.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Unsafe amounts of weed killer chemical found in some oat-based food, report finds
Unsafe amounts of weed killer chemical found in some oat-based food, report finds

Oatmeal and some other popular oat-based breakfast foods, including granola bars, may contain unsafe amounts of weed killer, according to a report.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental organization that specializes in research and advocacy, conducted a study on 29 oat-based foods.  It found that all but five contained...
Former CIA Director John Brennan: ‘I will not relent’
Former CIA Director John Brennan: ‘I will not relent’

Shortly after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that President Donald Trump is revoking John Brennan’s security clearance, the former CIA director replied on Twitter:  Brennan later appeared in an MSNBC interview discussing the announcement. "I think Mr. Trump is getting more and more concerned...
Person bitten by shark off Cape Cod
Person bitten by shark off Cape Cod

A person was bitten by a shark off Cape Cod, sources tell Boston 25 News. >> Read more trending news  The harbormaster said that a Medflight has been called to take the victim to Tufts Medical Center. Crews are now out looking for the shark. The victim reportedly has "deep puncture wounds." Truro police are handling the investigation...
1 dead in fatal industrial accident near Walt Disney World employee area
1 dead in fatal industrial accident near Walt Disney World employee area

A 61-year-old man has died after an industrial accident near a Walt Disney World employee area, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said. >> Read more trending news  According to deputies, two employees were emptying oil and grease byproduct from a semitrailer into a vat at the Harvest Power energy facility in Reedy Creek near...
‘John Doe’ buried in Georgia ID’ed by DNA as Michigan teen missing 39 years
‘John Doe’ buried in Georgia ID’ed by DNA as Michigan teen missing 39 years

Forensic experts on Tuesday identified a body buried in Georgia for nearly 40 years as a 15-year-old Michigan boy who was reported missing in 1979. Andrew Jackson Greer Jr., of Clayton, vanished Feb. 12, 1979, after leaving Addison High School and failing to return home. Michigan State Police officials said in a news release that the cold case...
More Stories