In the wake of the awful tragedy in Orlando, people throughout America are naturally feeling anger, despair and a heavy range of other emotions. And like every time something like this happens, the gun-control debate is once again getting sparked up. (Although at this point, mass shootings happen so frequently, the debate barely has time to die down in the interim.)
But why? Why can’t we as a country do something to fix this? President Obama sadly gave the answer during a PBS News Hour townnhall meeting on June 3, just 10 days before the shooting. And chillingly, the president warned that something just like it could happen.
Gun shop owner Doug Rhude, making the well-worn argument equating guns to cars and cellphones, asked Obama, “Why do you and Hillary want to control and restrict and limit gun manufactures, gun owners, and responsible use of guns and ammunition to the rest of us good guys instead of holding the bad guys accountable for their actions?” Obama was forced to point out that neither he nor Hillary were trying to take guns out of the hands of responsible gun owners.
The problem is, thanks to the efforts of the NRA, that we can’t keep guns out of the hands of irresponsible gun owners. Even those who pose terror risks:
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, 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 many weapons and ammo as he can, nothing’s prohibiting him from doing that, even though the FBI knows who that person is.
The sad and scary truth came to fruition this weekend, when 49 people were killed and dozens more injured by a terrorist on the FBI’s radar, who legally acquired his guns. And if you’d like to know who we have to thank, take a gander at this list posted to Twitter by Think Progress editor Igor Volsky: