Dr. Dean Winslow might have been a slam dunk for the role he was nominated for at the Department of Defense. As a former Air Force flight surgeon, the role of assistant secretary of defense for health affairs would have been right in his wheelhouse.
Unfortunately, he also said that he thought it was “insane” that regular citizens could buy an AR-15 following the Sutherland Springs tragedy.
While his role at the Department of Defense would have had no impact on the nation’s gun policy, now it won’t matter as Winslow has removed himself from consideration.
A Defense Department nominee whose confirmation was put on hold over comments he made about gun control announced in a op-ed on Wednesday that he has withdrawn from consideration for the post.
Dean Winslow, a retired Air Force colonel and flight surgeon who was being considered as an assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said in a piece on the Washington Post websitethat the growing political fight over his confirmation remarks have made him too much of a distraction to effectively help the department.
“I have the credentials to help, including 35 years of experience in the Air Force in military and academic medicine …” he wrote. “But unfortunately, I do not possess one credential the committee wanted to see: I do not support the unrestricted ownership of semiautomatic assault weapons by civilians.”
In his op-ed, Winslow (who served four deployments to Iraq and two to Afghanistan) said he has no opposition to civilian-owned firearms but said high-powered assault rifles are unsuitable for untrained civilians.
“As commander of an Air Force hospital in Baghdad during the surge, I have seen what these weapons do to human beings,” he wrote. “The injuries are devastating.”
Winslow has a right to his opinions, and while it’s arguable whether his opinions on a subject that has nothing to do with his role should have sunk his nomination, he still voiced them at a delicate time. He knew the administration’s views on guns, and he knew the majority in the Senate’s view on guns, yet he spouted his thoughts anyway.
The fact is, Winslow’s experience treating gunshot wounds is irrelevant.
What is relevant is that Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. If Winslow wanted a role in the government where he would have to renew his oath to support and defend the Constitution, it would help if he understood that opposition to civilians owning semi-automatic military-style rifles goes against the very core of that Constitution.
While he wouldn’t have had any say in federal firearm policy, it’s on him for bringing it up.
He spouted his anti-gun thinking for the press, which he had to know was going to make headlines. I can’t muster any sympathy for him, and not just because he disagrees with me on such an important topic. No, I can’t muster any sympathy because he was dumb enough to think he could get away with this.
He didn’t, and now he’s out.
Maybe this will be a nice object lesson for others to keep their anti-gun opinions to themselves.