President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Defense’s health services as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs said that civilians in the United States owning a semi-automatic rifle like the AR-15 is “insane.”

Dr. Dean Winslow made the statement during a questioning by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation hearing on Tuesday.

“I may get in trouble with other members of the committee, just say how insane it is that in the United States of America a civilian can go out and buy a semi-automatic assault rifle like an AR-15, which apparently was the weapon that was used,” Winslow said.

Dr. Winslow is a retired United States Air Force Colonel and has deployed twice to Afghanistan and four times to Iraq as a flight surgeon, and has over 40 years of experience as a medical professional.

His comments on guns in the United States came after Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked if the suspect in the most recent mass shooting, reportedly an Air Force veteran, should have received a dishonorable discharge instead of a bad conduct discharge after he was convicted of domestic violence for brutally beating his wife and child.

After initially answering her question by pointing to a systems failure on behalf of the Air Force in its reporting process with regard to service members who are convicted of crimes, Dr. Winslow offered his comments on gun ownership unprompted by the Senator. “I think that’s an issue not for this committee but elsewhere,” he said.

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“Dr. Winslow, I don’t think that’s in your area of responsibility or expertise,” Senator John McCain interjected.

The comment is assuredly not in step with the Trump administration’s position on American’s Second Amendment rights. President Trump has voiced strong support for gun ownership and has already said that the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, is not a gun issue.

Image courtesy of the U.S. Senate.