In a rambling rant made up largely of lies, half-truths and innuendo, Salon.com on Wednesday twice repeated a whopper that jumped off the screen and deserves to be addressed.
Trying to bolster the popular new gun-ban talking point that NRA’s dedication to Second Amendment rights is somehow helpful to Islamic State terrorists, Salon used a bait-and-switch tactic in citing the heinous murders in San Bernardino and Orlando to call for more restrictive gun control laws.
“That’s a problem, because the lax gun laws in this country are perhaps the biggest friend that the modern-day terrorist has, as evidenced by the high profile shootings in San Bernardino and Orlando in the past year and a half,” Amanda Marcotte wrote in the lead paragraph. Later in the piece she doubled down: “The aforementioned shootings in San Bernardino and Orlando offered gruesome examples of how demented people inspired by overseas terrorists, plus easy access to firearms, can equal an appalling body count.”
Such a claim deserves a closer look: Exactly what “lax gun laws” and “easy access to firearms” does Marcotte believe caused the terrorist murders in San Bernardino and Orlando?
First, let's look at San Bernardino, where a radical Islamist husband and wife killed 14 people and injured 22 others at a Christmas party. According to police reports, the two pistols used by the mass murderers were legally purchased by the husband after a background check—the Holy Grail of gun control advocates. And the two AR-15-style rifles used by the couple were illegal to own—they had been modified to bypass California law and were given to the shooters by an acquaintance. Additionally, the magazines used were illegal to own or possess in the state.
In fact, California has among the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation. Exactly what additional law is it that Marcotte believes could have stopped the attack? A complete ban on private gun ownership, perhaps? Of course, that only stops the law-abiding from possessing firearms, since criminals, by definition, don’t follow laws.
Of course, that only stops the law-abiding from possessing firearms, since criminals, by definition, don’t follow gun laws.Tell me, Ms. Marcotte: Do you really think two terrorists bent on killing as many people as possible—the most heinous crime imaginable—would worry about running afoul of a law banning guns?
Now on to Orlando, where another radicalized Islamic terrorist killed 49 people and wounded 53 at the Pulse nightclub. Tragically, the FBI had investigated the Orlando shooter for nearly a year back in 2013 and 2014, putting him under surveillance, recording his calls and using confidential informants. In the end, even after interviewing him twice, the bureau dropped the inquiry—in hindsight, a tragic mistake.
Concerning the firearms used by the Orlando mass murderer, the killer bought both his rifle and pistol at a gun shop, and he underwent a background check for the purchases. He even completed the state’s three-day waiting period for the handgun purchases.
Tell me, Ms. Marcotte: Is this the “easy access to firearms” you are referring to in your writing? And would so-called “universal” background checks have stopped the Orlando shooter? Of course, the answer to that last question is no, as he had already jumped through the governmental hoops required to purchase his firearms legally.
Those at Salon.com might wrongly believe that “lax gun laws” and “easy access to firearms” are horrible problems confronting our country, and the First Amendment protects their right to say so. But if the website is going to try to make that point, its writer shouldn’t use examples that, when examined, don’t support that conclusion.
In truth, restrictive firearm laws only affect law-abiding gun owners, who don’t pose a threat to anyone. More restrictive gun laws—as advocated by Marcotte and Salon.com—only benefit criminals and, you guessed it, terrorists.
Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for nearly 17 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.