The assault weapons ban has some help from unlikely allies. Civil rights activist Ruby Bridges Hall and Republican lawmaker, who in the past has supported the NRA, Brian Mast, are both throwing their hats into the gun control ring.
US Rep Brian Mast, from Florida, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times and in it he says that while he is a longtime member of the National Rifle Association, he wants there to be a new assault weapons ban.
“If we act now by changing laws surrounding firearms and mental illness, we too can save lives,” he stated.
Mast is an Army veteran who lost both his legs in the war in Afghanistan and says that the gun that Nikolas Cruz used to murder 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week is similar to the weapon the military gave him to kill during war.
“I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend,’ he said, adding: No firearm is evil. Guns are tools that fulfill the intent of their users, good or bad. But we’ve seen that the rifle of choice for many mass shooters is the AR-15.”
He says he supports “defining what constitutes an assault or tactical firearm and not allowing them for future purchase — just as we already prohibit the purchase of fully automatic firearms.”
Civil rights activist Ruby Bridges Hall has also stated her support for an assault weapons ban, stating that she is upset at all the mass shootings happening at schools in this country.
“When I think about our babies today and them not being safe in school, I think that should be the next civil rights movement, you know, is to ban the assault weapons so that our babies can be safe,” she said at a gala where civil rights leaders such as herself were being honored.
Hall was the first black child to enroll in elementary school in New Orleans in 1960 when she was six-years-old. At the time, some white parents took their children out of that school and due to threats of being poisoned she could only eat food she brought from home.