Orlando and the terrorist watch list
June 14, 2016 Leave a comment
The Orlando terrorist had previously purchased an AR-15 semi-automatic gun and a hand gun [and reportedly a third gun but left in his vehicle] in the weeks prior to the shooting. Even though he was previously on a watch list, he was allowed to purchase them. Oddly, he was denied the option to purchase a bullet proof vest. [One needs to wonder which is more dangerous but in certain you can drive a car or join the armed forces before you can vote in some jurisdictions.]
The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, created in 2003 following the 9/11 attacks on the US, maintains a database of people known or suspected of being involved in terrorist activities. Previously, federal agencies used to keep nearly a dozen separate listings but shared them only occasionally.
The list has about 420,000 people on it with only 2% American citizens. Records updated daily and shared with state, local and foreign agencies. In this amount, some 16,000 of its names comprised the government’s no-fly list in 2011. Most foreigners are not permitted to purchase firearms here.
According to the law, you can be on the list but still be able to purchase firearms and explosives. The Democrats again are trying to revive a bill to change this. The Republicans claim the Constitution gives anyone the right to bear arms [even though it was an amendment].
People purchasing guns from federally licensed firearms dealers must undergo background checks. Purchases can be blocked if they fall into any of 10 categories such as convicted felons or drug abusers, people found by courts to have certain mental problems and immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally. Oddly, being a suspected or known terrorist is not one such category. The FBI will check if anyone applying for licenses to ship or receive explosives.
The FBI is notified when someone on a list applies to purchase a gun which usually often results in increased surveillance of a suspect.
People don’t need background checks to buy guns from unlicensed sellers, such as from some who offer firearms at gun shows or online. This part is ridiculous!
From 2004 to 2015, 2,477 names of would-be gun and explosives buyers were on the watch list. Nearly all were for gun purchases of which 91 per cent [or 2,265] were allowed.
The AR-15 semi-automatic rifle used by the Orlando terrorist requires you to pull the trigger for each bullet. It holds 30 rounds or more. So the terrorist had to reload during the shootings. The NRA says that Americans own 8 million of them, growing about 1 million annually.
One needs to wonder why anyone would need one of these unless planning on attacking a place or to be attacked by authorities. NRA official Chris W. Cox said it is used widely for self-defense. From what? An army invading the US?