President Obama’s new set of proposals on gun violence prevention are enjoying broad support within his administration — including the support of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. The Secretary not only heads up the armed forces but is himself a veteran and hunter, making his recent comments in favor of the initiative salient to the heated debate of how gun owners will receive the proposals.
Speaking in front of troops, Panetta’s comments came after a soldier critiqued that Obama was “tearing apart our Second Amendment.” In a (fairly foul-mouthed) defense, Panetta pointed out exactly how they relate to the military:
“Who the hell needs armor-piercing bullets except you guys in battle?” Panetta told the soldiers at the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza in northern Italy. “For the life of me, I don’t know why the hell people have to have assault weapons.”
Panetta, who said he believes in the Second Amendment and has been a longtime duck hunter, was asked about the issue by a soldier who wanted to know what steps the Obama administration was going to take to deal with attacks in schools that “don’t have to do with tearing apart our Second Amendment.”
The Secretary is not the only military man to lend his voice to Obama’s cause. Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former Commander of US and ISAF forces in Afghanistan, voiced his own support for Obama’s initiative yesterday.
Law enforcement officials have also lent their weight to the call for stronger gun safety laws. Former New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir called for more responsible gun laws in an op-ed yesterday — and his opinion has been widely echoed by local law enforcement who daily witness the dangers of firearms.