Panetta: People don't 'need' assault weapons
Even if that were true, what the heck does "need" have to do with it? We don't "need" 150 daily newspapers in the country either, or hundreds of TV channels, or thousands and thousands of books.
And while we're at it, do we really "need" so many protestant religious demoninations? There is no "need" to bear arms - only the right to do so, guaranteed by the Constitution.
Asked by a soldier what President Barack Obama would do to protect school children from gun violence without infringing Americans' right to own guns, Panetta said action was needed after the attack on a Connecticut school in December in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults.
He told members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team at Vicenza that there were areas where steps could be taken,
"I mean who the hell needs armor-piercing bullets except you guys in battle?"
In the aftermath of the Connecticut shooting - the latest mass killing in the United States on a list that includes Columbine in 1999 and Virginia Tech in 2007 - Obama launched the biggest gun-control push in generations.
He asked Congress on Wednesday to approve an assault weapons ban and background checks for all gun buyers.
Panetta, who is on a week-long trip to Europe, was President Bill Clinton's chief of staff when the United States banned the sale of assault weapons in the 1990s.
"Unfortunately that ban went out of effect," he said.
He added that he was an enthusiastic hunter.
"I've been duck hunting since I was 10-years-old. I love to hunt and I love to be able to share that joy with my kids. But for the life of me, I don't know why the hell people have to have an assault weapon."
And these people took an oath to "support, protect, and defend" the Constitution? If they have no concept of the difference between a "right" and "need," we are truly in trouble.