Speaking after a meeting Tuesday of the National Security Council, President Obama addressed the recent terror attack in Orlando and called for increased gun control.
The meeting was scheduled prior to the mass murder at The Pulse gay club in Orlando that left 49 dead and dozens more seriously injured.
Addressing the press, Obama spoke of the radicalization of the U.S.-born terrorist killed in a shootout with Orlando Police Sunday morning.
“This individual appears to have absorbed some of that, and during his killing spree, the shooter in Orlando pledged allegiance to ISIL,” the president said. “As I’ve said before, these lone actors or small cells of terrorists are very hard to detect and very hard to prevent.”
After speaking to current and ongoing military operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria at length, the president turned to domestic concerns.
“Lastly, here at home, if we really want to help law enforcement protect Americans from homegrown extremists, the kind of tragedies that occurred at San Bernardino and that now have occurred in Orlando, there is a meaningful way to do that,” said Obama. “We have to make it harder for people who want to kill Americans to get their hands on weapons of war that let them kill dozens of innocents.”
Part of the solution, as presented by the president, is to move forward with proposals to restrict gun sales to those on terror watch lists.
“People with possible ties to terrorism, who are not allowed on a plane, should not be allowed to buy a gun. Enough talking about being tough on terrorism. Actually be tough on terrorism and stop making it easy as possible for terrorists to buy assault weapons,” Obama said.
This provided a segue into a push to restore the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.
“Reinstate the assault weapons ban,” Obama said plainly. “Make it harder for terrorists to use these weapons to kill us. Otherwise, despite extraordinary efforts across our government, by local law enforcement, by our intelligence agencies, by our military – despite all the sacrifices that folks make, these kinds of events are going to keep on happening.”
A bill proposed last December by House Democrats to bring back a renewed federal ban on guns with “military-style features” currently has 125 co-sponsors and is the focus of renewed attention this week.
Under its guidelines, the measure is more prohibitive than the original 1994 Federal Assault Weapon Ban that expired a decade ago. It would add 157 firearms identified by name to that list’s 660 restricted guns in addition to other restrictions.
Finally, the president addressed rhetoric that he refused to use the term “Radical Islam” by saying, “What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to trying to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? … The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.”