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Thursday, December 17, 2015

San Bernadino - When terrorists can buy assault weapons from "The Week"

"If we can't close a loophole that allows known and suspected terrorists to legally purchase guns, what does that say about us?"


AR-15 guns can be purchased by any American 
A contoversy of the week opinion in the December 18, 2015 edition of "The Week"- the assault weapons Americans are allowed to buy are now weapons that can be purchased by terrorists. 

How can this be?
Meet the Farooks, the couple who massacred innocent people in San Bernadino
The San Bernadino terrorist attack should've beeen "a unifying movement in the gun debate, rather than a polarizing one," said David Ignatius in The Washington Post.  When Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik horribly stormed an office Christmas party in San Bernadino, armed with two AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, two semiautomatic pistols, and 1,600 rounds of ammunition, they killed 14 pepoel and wounded 21 more---topping off one of the worst years for mass shootings in modern U.S. history. The couple used America's right to buy guns to purchase the weapons used in the gruesome attack, even though it was their colleague in crime who actually bought the weapons..  

There have been more than 350 shootings this year, in which four or more people were killed or injured, and all of those massacres, whether motivated by mental illness, racism, hatred or Planned Parenthood, or ISIS-inspired terrorism, were made possible by our lax gun laws.  And yet, Republicans continue to oppose the most minimal and practical of gun reforms, such as univesal background checks and the "no-buy list" proposed by congressional Democrats, said David Wheeler in CNN.com.  That legislation would ban suspeced terorists on the "no-fly" list from buying a gun. "If we can't close a loophole that allows known and suspeced terrorists to leally purchase guns, what does that say about us?"

"First off, France is one big gun-free-zone," said Katie Pavlich, in TheHill.com, and that didn't stop Kalashnikov-wielding terrorists from slaughtering 130 people in Paris last month.  

And while the no-fly list sounds like a register of dangerous individual, it's actually a bureaucratic mishmash of 47,000 pepole, including thousands "who have no links to terrorism at all" but simply have names similar to those suspected terrorists.  That's hardly a basis to take away someone's constitutional right to buy firearms.  The "no-buy" list wouldn't have stopped Malik and Farook from getting a gun anyway, said Philip Bump, in The Washington Post.  Neither of themwas on the no-fly list, and they obtained their weapons legally, despite California having some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.  "One reason that no clear implemetnatable policy solutions have been proposed might be that non yet exist."

No gun law can stop all mass shootings, but banning assault weapons would surely reduce the carnage, said Scott Martelle, in LATimes.com.  

Indeed, assault weapons like the ones used by Malik and Faook are "designed to kill large numbers of people in a short period of time"---especially when equipped with large-capacity magazines allowing shooters to pump out 30 or more bullets without reloading.  

These kinds of mass killing weapons have been deployed in many high-casuality mass shootings, including those at the Sandy Hook elementay school and the movie theater killings in Aurora, Colorado.  But, that's a red herring, said NationalReview.com, in an editorial.  Rifles of any kind are used in "a vanishingly small share of U.S. murders" --- three percent. Instead, Crushing ISIS would go much further to prevent furure massacres than confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens who "like to shoot quail", or "keep a scary-looking gun in the basement---just in case."

If the gun lobby were honest, said Adam Gopnik, in The New Yorker, they'd say regular mass killings of innocents are a price worth paying for the right to own whatever weapons we want.  

Thanks to that belief, "we have been running an experiment of a kind that no sane ethicist would allow. In other words, what happens when, in a country large enough to contain every imaginable kind of crazy, from the inward-running, maniac wort to the outward-turning, politicized kind, you make sue that almost anyone can radily buy any  kind of gun."  The answer:  You getmore massaccres than there are days in the year.  

Tragically, while Republicans rant and rave about protecting America's natioal security, they're in lock step in being unwilling to challenge the most serious threat to every person's life - death by gun violence. Consequently, Republicans can build border walls, they can try to prevent immigration, they can put criminals in jail until there're no more places to incarerate the guilty, but none of these wasteful actions will stop terorist in America from buying guns, because they can.

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