Op-Ed

Post-Orlando, focus on a stronger FBI rather than gun control

Sen. Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul

When the United States is rocked by the news of a horrific tragedy like the one in Orlando, the American people rightfully look to their leaders for solutions.

However, too often the proposed “solutions” are a result of our leaders ignoring the true issue at hand in favor of promoting their own political agenda. And at that point, they as elected leaders have failed the American people, because they have not proposed real solutions. They have just politicized a tragedy.

For these opportunists to use the tragedy in Orlando to promote their gun-control agenda is as ill-conceived as it is self-serving. Because if they were to get what they want, to take away Second Amendment rights from anyone on a terror watch list, the Orlando killer still would have been able to purchase weapons and commit mass murder.

The Orlando killer was able to purchase his guns for one simple reason: He was not on any watch list.

Why not? Because the FBI interviewed him and said he was not a credible risk. That was a huge mistake, because indeed, he was a viable and deadly risk. It was a mistake to take him off the list.

Not only was it a mistake to remove him from the terrorist watch list, it was a mistake to end the investigation into his terrorist ties. He threatened to kill his co-workers. He pledged his allegiance to radical Islam. He traveled to Saudi Arabia. And yet, the FBI ended their investigation and removed him from the watch list.

Had he been on the watch list, a licensed gun dealer would have notified the FBI, which would have been able to intervene before any gun purchase.

Given these facts, it begs the question, what really needs to be done? Should we, as Kentuckians, surrender our Second Amendment rights to the authority of President Barack Obama’s secret lists? Or should we instead fix the FBI system so they continue to investigate terrorists?

I vote for increased vigilance for suspected terrorists for whom we have individualized suspicion, but I vote no on simply taking away the Second Amendment right to own guns, especially without due process.

Contrary to what the anti-gun lobby would like you to believe, I fully support forbidding terrorists from buying guns. That is why I voted for an amendment that would have given the FBI 72 hours to investigate gun purchases by suspected terrorists.

But better yet, I favor stopping terrorists from ever entering America in the first place. We must step up our scrutiny of those who wish to immigrate to our great country.

While the Orlando killer was not an immigrant, we need more scrutiny for anyone wishing to immigrate here from nations that have significant Islamic extremism. Our defense begins at our borders and we are foolish to think that we can have an adequate defense with open borders.

I believe our nation’s security is an absolute priority. But we do not become a safer nation by stripping away the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens without due process. We become a safer nation by proposing solutions that actually address the problem, like ensuring the FBI is using their resources to investigate terrorists.

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