Following the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, the National Rifle Association remained silent for a few days.
But on June 13, the largest gun lobby group in America unleashed a salvo of tweets, blasting media outlets for calling for bans on assault weapons while saying that law-abiding gun owners are getting undue amounts of blame following a terrorist attack that unfolded on Sunday morning at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that left 49 victims dead.
“Is there a single viable gun-control proposal…that would keep a committed jihadist from arming himself?” read one of the 12 tweets written by Chris W. Cox, the NRA’s executive director. “The increase in mass shootings is a much hyped myth. The drop in gun crime is a little noticed reality,” read another. He also hit out at the Washington Post, saying it “was once upfront about the goals of an ‘assault weapons’ ban.”
Cox later wrote an opinion piece for USA Today, saying that President Obama and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “are desperate to create the illusion that they’re doing something to protect us because their policies can’t and won’t keep us safe.”
It was reported that Omar Mateen, the 29-year-old gunman, had pledged allegiance to terrorist group ISIS, and was investigated twice by the FBI, but officials soon ended both of their investigations after finding no evidence he posed a terrorist threat. Mateen, who worked as a security guard since 2007, had purchased the two guns he used in the terror attack this month.
“The terrorist in Orlando had been investigated multiple times by the FBI. He had a government-approved security guard license with a contractor for the Department of Homeland Security,” Cox opined. “Yet his former co-workers reported violent and racist comments. Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s political correctness prevented anything from being done about it.”
He added that terrorists aren’t deterred by laws preventing the purchase of firearms, noting that San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook wasn’t stopped by California’s ban on assault weapons. A gun ban in France didn’t prevent the Paris terror attacks in November 2015, he added.
“Repeating the same thing but expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Law-abiding gun owners are tired of being blamed for the acts of madmen and terrorists. Semi-automatics are the most popular firearms sold in America for sport-shooting, hunting and self-defense,” Cox added.
The NRA executive director then turned his attention on Islam.
“It’s time for us to admit that radical Islam is a hate crime waiting to happen. The only way to defeat them is to destroy them—not destroy the right of law-abiding Americans to defend ourselves,” he said.
Following the Orlando attack, Senate Democrats have put pressure on Republicans on a proposal that would prevent people on federal terror watch lists from buying guns. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Republican, however, said that his own sponsored bill would accomplish many of the same things.
“I hope this week, perhaps, as we debate what the appropriate response is to dealing with these acts of mass terror, we look at the legislation that I introduced last December which would notify the FBI in the event someone on a watch list attempts to purchase a firearm and then give the FBI a chance, if the evidence warrants it, to detain that individual and to deny them access to the firearm,” he stated.
In the House of Representatives, some Democrats are pushing their “No Fly, No Buy” bill to prevent people on terror watch lists from purchasing guns. New York Rep. Steve Israel suggested that Trump’s NRA meeting won’t matter.
“If Donald Trump decides today that he supports ‘No Fly, No Buy,’ it will be just the latest disagreement that House Republicans say they have with him. It is irrelevant,” he said at a news conference, according to Politico.
Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, said he’ll meet with the NRA to discuss from people on the no-fly list or terror watch list from purchasing firearms. “I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns,” Trump tweeted.
“Restrictions like bans on gun purchases by people on ‘watch lists’ are ineffective, unconstitutional, or both,” the NRA tweeted Tuesday, adding that it would meet with Trump.