Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal came out in favor of gun control restrictions in a Tuesday morning appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"I spent a career carrying typically either a M16, and later a M4 carbine," he said. "And a M4 carbine fires a .223 caliber round, which is 5.56 millimeters, at about 3,000 feet per second. When it hits a human body, the effects are devastating. It's designed to do that. That's what our soldiers ought to carry."
Said McChrystal, "I personally don't think there's any need for that kind of weaponry on the streets and particularly around the schools in America. I believe that we've got to take a serious look -- I understand everybody's desire to have whatever they want -- but we have to protect our children and our police and we have to protect our population. And I think we have to take a very mature look at that."
McChrystal, though he resigned in disgrace in 2010 after a Rolling Stone article, is still revered by many as a top general, and his comments are significant for a former member of the military. If he does continue to advocate for gun control, he could be a significant voice in a movement whose opposition appeals to machismo.
"I think serious action is necessary. Sometimes we talk about very limited actions on the edges, and I just don't think that's enough," he said.
Asked what his message was to the National Rifle Association and the House Judiciary Committee, he said, "I think we have to look at the situation in America. The number of people killed by firearms is extraordinary compared to other nations. I don't think we're a bloodthirsty culture, and we need to look at everything we can do to safeguard our people."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a co-founder and backer of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, praised McChrystal later in the program. "Stanley McChrystal is a guy who has more crediblity than I ever will have in terms of guns and the damage that guns can do," he said. "He's devoted his life to public service. But Stanley McChrystal can be as good a spokesman as can the five of us."