Mast Says He Wants to Talk Assault Weapons Ban With Trump

Announced support for a ban last week in an op-ed

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Rep. Brian Mast said he hopes to discuss a ban on assault weapons with President Donald Trump

Mast, an Army veteran who lost both of his legs and a finger in Afghanistan, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times last week saying he supported an assault weapons ban.

“I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend,” Mast wrote.

The Florida Republican told the Palm Beach Post he wants to raise the question at a meeting the president will host Wednesday with a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

“I’m hopeful. I think having a conversation with the president can help move that,” he said. 

Watch: Trump’s Clout on Gun Control Is Limited, and House GOP Won’t Help

Mast told the Post his Republican colleagues have asked him about the reaction in Florida’s 18th District.

“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,” he said. 

Prior to announcing his support for an assault weapons ban, Mast had been supported by the National Rifle Association in his first campaign in 2016.

Mast said he wants Trump to “implement an immediate pause” on sales of the AR-15 weapon, which was used in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

But Mast also said that an assault weapons ban should not include a blanket ban on semiautomatic weapons, since they require the trigger to be pulled for each round.

“I think that’s a fair standard for anybody that wants to be a law-abiding citizen,” he said.

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