Just 10 days before a lone wolf ISIS sympathizer carried out the worst mass shooting in US history at a gay nightclub in Orlando, President Obama spoke at a town hall about how just such an attack could be made possible by lax US gun laws.
Gun shop owner Doug Rhude stood up and asked Obama why we can apply "common sense" to issues like drunk driving in our society "without restricting control of cars and cellphones to the rest of us, the good guys," yet Obama and Hillary Clinton "want to control and restrict and limit gun manufacturers, gun owners and responsible use of guns and ammunition to the rest of us, the good guys, instead of holding the bad guys accountable for their actions."
In response, Obama made no bones about blaming the National Rifle Association (NRA) for public misinformation on guns — and about the lax gun laws that can help cause tragedies like those in Orlando. He also said neither he nor Clinton, nor the Democratic Party, is "hell-bent on taking away folks’ guns."
Then Obama said this, which turned out to be chillingly prescient given that the shooter, Omar Mateen, declared allegiance to ISIS on the day of the attacks and had been investigated twice by the FBI for suspected terrorist sympathies:
What I have said is precisely what you suggested, which is, why don’t we treat this like every other thing that we use? I just came from a meeting today in the Situation Room in which I got people who we know have been on ISIL Web sites, living here in the United States, U.S. citizens, and we’re allowed to put them on the no-fly list when it comes to airlines, but because of the National Rifle Association, I cannot prohibit those people from buying a gun.
This is somebody who is a known ISIL sympathizer. And if he wants to walk into a gun store or a gun show right now and buy as much — as many weapons and ammo as he can, nothing’s prohibiting him from doing that, even though the FBI knows who that person is.
Senate Democrats are now using this line of argument to push legislation that would ban people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list from obtaining guns.
Mateen, who is a US citizen, used a legally purchased AR-15 assault rifle and handgun in his attack. He was also removed from the terror watch list after the two FBI investigations into his behavior were closed.