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Less than two weeks before the Orlando massacre — the worst mass shooting in US history — Barack Obama warned about a dangerous loophole in US gun laws. On a PBS Town Hall event, Obama said:

I just came from a meeting today in the Situation Room in which I’ve got people who we know have been on ISIL websites, living here in the United States, US 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 gun show right now and buy as many weapons and ammo as he can, nothing’s prohibiting him from doing that, even though the FBI knows who that person is.

Remember, this was said two weeks ago, and it was eerily (and sadly) prescient, considering that the shooter in Orlando had been investigated by the FBI twice, but was able to purchase two guns and ammo just before the attack.

Look, I support the second amendment, but no right is absolute. Even staunch libertarians believe that rights end when they threaten other rights, and that with rights come responsibilities. I have the right to free speech, but not to libel and slander. I have freedom of religion, but not if my religion includes human sacrifice. I have a right to vote, but that right can depend on my not committing any felonies.

Do Republicans really believe that a terrorist sympathizer’s right to own guns with no background check is more important than the innocent victims’ lives? Of course they do. Less than a year ago, the GOP blocked a bill that would have stopped terrorists from buying guns.

And Donald Trump seems to be doing everything in his power to make this worse, and wasting no time to make it about himself. He sent out the following tweet early Sunday morning: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism”.

And then this morning Trump said on Fox News “The problem is we have thousands of people right now in our country. You have people that were born in this country” who are susceptible to becoming “radicalized”. That’s right Trump, and it is your words and actions that are radicalizing them. It is bigoted and stupid to blame Islam and make all Muslims the enemy. After all, Hitler claimed to be a Christian, but you don’t hear people blaming “radical Christian terrorism” or proposing that we we should have closed our borders to Christians during WWII.

UPDATE: Samantha Bee expresses her righteous anger over this very issue:



  1. Benjamin Cline wrote:

    If only the no-fly list wasn’t so horribly broken. Even the ACLU thinks it needs to be fixed before it can be used to regulate guns!

    Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 12:50 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    The law that was blocked by the GOP also included fixes to the no-fly list, including allowing people on the list to appeal and get off the list.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 6:00 am | Permalink
  3. ebdoug wrote:

    Florida has to have AK-47s so people can murder boars and big game in the swamps. It is very important to murder there.

    NY Republicans just sidelined a bill over the weekend to relax the “safe act” laws. I praise them for that. They don’t want to be like Florida.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 6:59 am | Permalink
  4. Wildwood wrote:

    Ebdoug, maybe NY is not overrun with wild boars.

    And does sidelined mean, “I don’t ever want to see that bill again” or does it mean,”This is not a good time so we will address this in a month or so when things have died down and everyone has gone back to not paying attention”?

    Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink
  5. dave wrote:

    Wildwood, at the rate of exponential growth on mass shootings there might not be a time when things have died down.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink
  6. PatriotSGT wrote:

    So what we have is a problem with no solution. There is no loophole. There is just no mechanism to enact. We can enact a no fly rule, which is really broken. Flying is also not a constituionally protected right. So who would determine and by what criteria that a person be placed on a no buy list. That is the question and it does directly tie into the 1st amendment. Instead of the blame game, i’d like to see both politicians and the media actually draw up a draft and debate it. Neither side is willing to do the work. Not when Dems contolled all 3 branches nor now. I’m actually in favor of a no buy list, for a number of persons including the mentally ill. Most everyone I know is against gun control, and if thats the message it is DOA.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    No solution? Why has almost every country except US been able to come up with a solution? Australia came up with a solution that has worked.

    Heck, our constitution even says “well regulated militia”. Why can’t we treat this like we treat driving? After all, the ability to drive and the ability to fly are not that far apart. We regularly take away people’s right to drive when they would pose a danger to others. We do this by taking away their driver’s license. Australia requires a gun owner to have a license. Seems like a solution to me.

    p.s. I have a post for Thursday that should amplify this point.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink
  8. Ralph wrote:

    I needed to take a road test before they gave me a driver’s license. And required to renew it periodically. Cars can be dangerous and often kill or maim. So in the USA, driving is a privilege, not a right. A no-brainer.

    But I can go to any gun show in America and purchase a small arsenal of hand guns and semi-automatic weaponry with just a little paperwork involved. The really good ones are available in the parking lot and they don’t ask for shit, besides your money! The Second Amendment has me covered. Oh, the NRA and their Congress lackeys too.

    USA: Where Omar Marteen can easily get a machine that rapidly kills large #s of Americans, and @tommychong went to jail for selling bongs. – John Fugelsang

    Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink
  9. PatriotST wrote:

    Well Ralph, that really depends what state you live in. In mine, which happens to include a city with one of the highest per capita murder rates (mostly by guns)in the country, there are many regulations for guns. First you must pass a gun safety course approved by the state, and if you want to hunt(requiring another license), you need another hunting safety course. Then you must pass a state background and if you are purchasing any non hunting firearm a federal background.
    Is there anything else you’d recommend? The problem is two fold. In San Bernadino, the terrorist simply got a straw purchaser to commit a felony, by promising to be his friend. In Orlando, the FBI thought there was insufficient evidence after a 10 month investigation. The shooters current wife knew of his plans and committed accessory in not reporting it to authorities. In Auroroa, the killer was schizophrenic, but there is no mechanism to prevent him from buying a weapon, although his Dr. knew he had homicidal ideations. In Sandy Hook, the killer first killed his mother, then stole the guns to murder.

    There is no gun show loophole, every firearm purchased requires a background check. If they are selling on a parking lot, then it is not a legally purchased weapon. But in the 4 cases I pointed out, none of them have anything to do with a gun show. So I don’t really understand your point.

    Make Doctors enter a No Buy code on their patients NCIC record while they feel that person should not own a firearm. Give law enforcement the ability to enter a No Buy code while someone is being investigated or looked at. But that won’t stop it, criminals will find a work around.
    If people see something they need to be able to say something. We have to provide protections against being called racists, or insensitive, or bigots or whatever when we call something out. Many people are afraid to say anything for fear of law suits or being charged for some crime. Yeah, we will get a lot of false get even, type of reports, but we’ll get good ones as well. Investigators can sift thru that rubble.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 7:05 am | Permalink
  10. redjon wrote:

    PST… It sounds like there are a lot of angry people in your state/city and/or ones who place less value on human life than you or I might, but I wonder (a) how many of those murders are drug related (a whole ‘nother subject) and (b) how many mass murders have been committed there.

    It is interesting to me that, although no other industrial country has anything like the level of gun violence that exists here, anyone can claim that there is simply no solution. That it is hopeless.

    If it is true that there is no solution… that the solutions used by other industrial countries would not also work here, then WHY NOT?

    What makes Americans so willing to accept such high levels of violence? What is the benefit to us, exactly, of accepting that such things are unsolvable?

    What sort of twisted self-esteem do we earn by telling ourselves none of the solutions used by other countries would be worth the costs and that we must simply accept this as a condition of living here?

    I’m pretty sure we know better than that.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink
  11. redjon wrote:

    Wait… Hopes and prayers. Or a moment of silence. That’s the ticket.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
  12. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Redjon, there are solutions. I actually read today that Trump was going to meet with the NRA about getting thise on a no fly list, added to a no buy list, but of course there will be opposition, but surprisingly not by the NRA, who has always agreed with that. (If there is a process of review for those erroneously placed on the list).
    My philosphy on this is simple, common sense rules should, and for the most part do exist and should be used. The majority of peaceful law abiding citizens should not be infringed upon for the actions of the few.
    You would be astonished to see the number of violent and drug offenders that use illegal firearms who don’t spend even 30 days in Jail. In my city where there are hundreds of people murdered with illegal firearms, there are thousands arrested with them who have to be caught a third time to get even 2 yrs in jail. That in my mind defies logic. Yet it is the same politicians in my state who espouse gun control, while writing the lenient laws for illegal gun users. So that is why I am convinced that their words mean nothing.
    If you commit armed robbery with an illegal firearm get sentenced to 10 years with 9years and 11 months suspended, then get caught selling drugs with an illegal firearm that has the serial # filed off and get that sentence suspended to 6 months, with 3 months iff for good behavior, what does that tell your criminal mind? Absolutely mind blowing. But its real.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
  13. Ralph wrote:

    Patriot – I’ll defer to you regarding gun laws, don’t own one and never bought one, so wouldn’t pretend any expertise there. I assume they vary somewhat from state to state or at the federal level. But if there are no “loopholes”, as you suggest, why do we continue to hear about them? Obama mentioned it in a recent speech just this week, so what are we missing or is he flat out wrong too? How about the ones that permit those on no-fly or terrorist watch lists to still buy guns? Isn’t that technically a “loophole”? Yes, the straw purchaser and other criminal elements will always be out there too, but are you suggesting this as an excuse for doing nothing or not strengthening existing regulations and restrictions? Why pass ANY laws then? Are the existing laws too weak and porous or just poorly enforced? I understand far more are killed by handguns than semi-automatics, like the AR-15 (which get far more press though because of the mass carnage events), so there’s clearly something lacking and more that could be done on that front.

    There are presently more guns in the US than people, not to mention 3D printers getting better and better at producing them, secretly or otherwise, ostensibly in the privacy of your fallout shelter. We’re even starting to see them mounted on personal drones. So one could argue that the ship of regulations has sailed long ago anyway and our only recourse now is to somehow manage and minimize the carnage that now occurs on a regular, practically daily basis, with about 30,000 killed annually. A country that is armed to the teeth yet, ironically, feels more besieged and insecure than ever. Go figure. This is how we define security and freedom? This is how I define collective paranoia and insanity.

    I would argue that the crux of the problem lies with a Congress shamelessly beholden to the NRA. The issue can’t even be brought up on the House floor (see this week’s most recent skirmish and filibuster by the Dems). In the 90s, a Republican controlled Congress passed a measure to cut CDC funding for firearms violence research ( and recently continued the ruse ( Not against strengthening firearms regulations, mind you, but even for any research to gather statistics! When 90% of the population surveyed think we need to do much more to regulate firearms, but Congress stonewalls and obfuscates, it speaks volumes.

    I support the Second Amendment in its original context, but somewhere along the line the phrase “a well-regulated militia” has become lost in place of the curious argument that, in effect, unlimited firearms are a Constitutional entitlement for all against a malicious, albeit freely elected, gov’t who are on the verge, any time now, of sending the black helicopters (who by the way, also have bazookas, mortars, tanks, bombs, nukes, etc. Good luck with your AR-15 there Goob). As it presently stands, we’re well on our way to becoming a nation where no one will feel secure leaving their home without packing heat (your little girl can carry a pink one now too). Great for the gun industry and their primary lobbying arm, the NRA. For the average Joe, not so much.

    How about this for an updated firearms regulation? As suggested by Andy Borowitz, “A requirement of purchasing an AR-15 should be a two-year period of using the weapon as an enlisted member of the US military in Afghanistan.”

    Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 5:55 am | Permalink
  14. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Ralph and Redjon, I did some research on gun laws in existence currently. Its Patchwork of state and limited federal laws. Gun shows are reqired to be organized by a federaly licensed gun dealer and all sales are required to have a backgroynd check. However, there are 2 issues. First is that personal private sales do not require that (and
    can be done in a parking lot) and second there is little to no law enforcement presence to prevent straw sales from occuring. All 50 states have varying laws, but all require at least a background check.

    That being said, I see the private sale as the biggest issue, with straw sales coming in 2nd. However, with all that none of the last 4 mass shooting could have been avoided by fixing either of those, since the firearms were all purchased legally. The Orlando murderer even had a concealed carry permit from his job. That leads me to the practical conclusion that regulating the privatr sale, enforcing existing straw buyer laws, and drafting guidelines to include no flyers, on no buyers list, along with mental health exclusions is a good place to start.
    I also looked at the FBI statsn declined checks and it seems they only reject 1% of applications and I don’t know what their criteria is for rejection.

    Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
  15. Ralph wrote:

    Thanks Patriot – So basically then, someone who HAS passed a background check can go out to the parking lot and do his bidniz. It amazes me that law enforcement wouldn’t even post a presence to monitor transactions, in house or parking lot, but then I’ve never been to a gun show.

    As chance would have it (oh right, Orlando), the CBS newscast tonight had a piece on how easy it was for one of their correspondents to go into a gun store in Virginia and walk out with an AR-15 and 100 rounds of ammo (bonus: a 30 round clip!) for about $1K in a little over 30 minutes after some paperwork and a brief e-check. No waiting period, no training or follow-up required, just like in 40 other states. Walked out with a nifty looking gig bag too. What a country!

    Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 7:31 pm | Permalink