Nate Bethea served as an infantry officer in the US Army from 2007 to 2014, and during that time, he fired thousands of rounds from assault rifles. "These weapons are intended for the battlefield. I don’t want an assault rifle, because I don’t want to think of my home country as a battlefield," he writes in the New York Times. "I don’t want civilians to own assault rifles, because I think the risks outweigh the rewards. If people really do believe that they need them, maybe it’s because they see a battlefield where others don’t." He notes that he's seen the effects the weapons have, and he doesn't want to think the US is such a dangerous place that we need such weapons.
He quotes a friend, an Army Special Forces officer with multiple combat deployments: "People who say they need an AR for hunting or home defense often don’t understand the weapon’s ballistics or overpenetration. ARs cause horrific damage to humans; that’s why the military developed them. If you want to shoot an AR so bad, please feel free to join the fight against ISIS in the military." And, Bethea begs, please don't get hung up on the semantics. Yes, there are slight differences between assault weapons used by the military and the types of assault rifles civilians can buy, but the truth is, a civilian would be able to buy basically the same rifle Bethea carried in Afghanistan, and the same accessories, with little difficulty—and that's not right. Click for his full piece. (Read more assault rifles stories.)