Retired Gen. Stanley McCrystal has weighed in on the gun control debate, with startling ignorance of current gun law.

”I spent a career carrying typically either a M16 and later, a M4 carbine,” McChrystal said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “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.”

He added, “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 — 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.”

The general makes a very good argument for civilian control of the military, as the military by nature tends to be authoritarian, and he should take a mature look at what current law actually says with regard to firearms. The fully automatic M4 and M16 are already effectively illegal for civilians to own and have been since 1986. You can buy semiautomatic versions, such as the AR-15, but not fully automatic M16s without jumping through an awful lot of legal hoops that amount to making them illegal. New laws won’t change that, unless they reverse standing law, and McCrystal is definitely not arguing for that.

McCrystal probably wants to ban anything that looks like this.

It looks like a mean “assault weapon,” but the Walther G22 is just a cool looking semiautomatic .22 caliber rifle, therefore it’s perfectly legal for civilian ownership.