Based on everything I have learned, seen and heard from the citizens of this Commonwealth, I can no longer support legislation that would allow the continued sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and here is why:
My opposition to banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines was based on my experience as a platoon commander and as a member of the US Navy SEALs. My fellow SEAL team members are the most highly trained, professional warriors in the world.
Navy SEALs can handle assault weapons and high capacity magazines with complete competency and safety. Others cannot. I can show virtually anybody how to change a high capacity magazine clip in five seconds. But that does not mean virtually anybody should have one.
Despite the political risks my decision may pose, the risks to schoolchildren and to other innocent victims caused by assault weapons are simply unacceptable.
I remain a strong, proud proponent of the Second Amendment. I will continue to speak out when politicians play politics and fear monger on guns. However, I will also continue to listen, learn and consider new evidence and arguments from the other side.
Many people of good will may honestly disagree with my decision. Some will be tempted to say my support for banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines runs contrary to the Constitution and to the Second Amendment.
I respect them. I spent a good portion of my life protecting and defending the Constitution, and to protecting their right to speak their minds.
To the professional political critics, I simply offer this: volunteer for the Navy or for the other armed services, successfully go through SEAL or other special forces training. Then you will be fully qualified and prepared to fire as many assault weapons with unlimited high capacity magazines as you desire.