Justice

NRA-Backed Legislator: We Can’t Take Syrian Refugees Because It’s Too Easy For Them To Buy Guns

CREDIT: Fox 7 Austin

Texas Rep. Tony Dale (R) on Monday

A Texas state legislator wants the U.S. to stop allowing Syrian refugees into the country. His reasoning: They might be able to buy guns in his state.

Rep. Tony Dale (R) made this argument in a television interview on Monday and in letters to Texas’ U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz (R) and U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul and John Carter (R).

“While the Paris attackers used suicide vests and grenades,” Dale wrote, “it is clear that firearms also killed a large number of innocent victims. Can you imagine a scenario were [sic] a refugees [sic] is admitted to the United States, is provided with federal cash payments and other assistance, obtains a drivers license and purchases a weapon and executes an attack?” He urged the lawmakers to “do whatever you can to stop the [Syrian refugee] program.”

But Dale is one of the Texas legislature’s most fervent gun-rights advocates. Two weeks ago, he tweeted his National Rifle Association membership renewal. In accepting an “A” rating from the group and the Texas State Rifle Association’s PAC in 2012, he observed: “Perhaps no right is more fundamental than the right to keep and bear arms.” And his campaign website vows his fealty to the Second Amendment, saying it “isn’t just an archaic document,” a “guarantor of all of our other freedoms.” And he and his colleagues in the state legislature have blocked mandatory background checks for all gun purchases.

This not the first time Dale has raised concerns about non-citizens in Texas. “I’m not saying all of these people are bad, but there are certainly people from countries of concern,” he said in March, explaining the need for legislation to create special drivers licenses for “foreigners.”

The NRA frequently claims that restrictions on gun purchases are unnecessary because “criminals don’t legally purchase firearms.” But in reality, a comprehensive analysis by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that most guns used in recent mass shootings were purchased legally.

While those applying for refugee status must complete “the most stringent security process for anyone entering the United States,” those attempting to purchase guns through private sales at gun shows in Texas and many other states are not required to undergo any background checks whatsoever. Virtually none of the millions of refugees admitted into the United States since 1980 have become terrorists, but the U.S. leads the world in mass shootings — almost all of which are perpetrated by people born in America.