How Terrorist Sympathizers Exploit America’s Gun Laws


Federal investigators now believe that at least one of the perpetrators behind the San Bernardino attack may have pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. According to three law enforcement officials who spoke to CNN, female attacker Tashfeen Malik touted her support for the terrorist organization on Facebook after initiating the Wednesday attack, which left 14 people dead and 21 wounded.

The news comes just hours after lawmakers defeated an amendment, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), that would have required suspected terrorists seeking a gun to undergo a background check.

During floor debate over the amendment, supporters pointed to a Government Accountability Office report that found suspected terrorists bought firearms and explosives from licensed dealers 1,300 times between 2004 and 2014, and that in 90 percent of cases, potential terrorists passed a background check allowing them to legally purchase guns. Feinstein’s amendment would have also given the U.S. attorney general the discretion to block gun sales to terror suspects and provided a process for people erroneously denied a gun to have their rights restored.

Indeed, radical Islamic terror leaders have previously urged American sympathizers to exploit the nation’s lax gun laws in order to perpetrate domestic terror and lone-wolf and homegrown terrorists have increasingly relied on high-powered guns to carry out their attacks.

“America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?” American-born al-Qaeda spokesmen Adam Yahiye Gadahn said in a message to followers in 2011. Gadahn, once the American face of al-Qaida, was killed in a drone strike in 2015.

Similarly, a six-page jihadist document obtained by The Violence Policy Center (VPC), instructs would-be terrorists “on the advantages the United States offers for firearms training and advises readers on how to exploit them.”

Closing the so-called terror gap was strongly supported by the George W. Bush administration. On Thursday, it failed in the senate by a vote of 45–54.