“Rep. Brian Mast’s conversion to gun-control advocate began next to a pool as he tried to find solace during last week’s congressional recess. The Florida Republican’s children were playing with dozens of other kids, but Mast could not stop thinking about the 17 students and faculty killed at a high school in his former home, Parkland. One of them, the assistant football coach, was a friend. Mast, 37, was an Army bomb technician whose job was to run toward trouble as comrades ran away. He lost both legs “trying to keep my brothers safe.” On this particular day, his 9-millimeter handgun was tucked nearby, as it nearly always is when he travels back home. Mast looked up at a hotel a few hundred yards from the pool where he sat. He thought about the Las Vegas massacre, when a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a casino hotel, leaving 58 people dead and hundreds more injured. “I’m a sitting duck,” he recalled thinking in an interview Monday evening, moments after the House held a moment of silence for the Parkland shooting. Mast is a Bronze Star recipient — the ultimate “good guy with a gun,” as gun-rights supporters like to say. But his handgun and concealed-weapon permit would have been no match for someone firing a military-style weapon from high above. “He could take me out, and my concealed-carry does me no good,” he recalled thinking that day. That’s when Mast started thinking, for the first time in his brief political career, about how federal gun laws should change. A few days later he published a column in the New York Times declaring his support for a ban on “assault or tactical” firearms; a requirement for background checks on all gun purchases, including online and private sales; and a ban on accessories such as “bump stocks,” which allow guns to simulate the rapid fire of fully automatic weapons.”

The Washington Post“How One Florida Republican Came to Support a Ban on Assault Weapons After the Parkland Shooting” (via inothernews)