In an article published last week, the Washington Post details how an Islamic State magazine encouraged recruits to exploit American firearm laws for the purpose of obtaining guns without identification or background checks.
Except, says National Shooting Sports Foundation, the newspaper failed to correct the terrorist group’s misleading “propaganda” about using gun shows to avoid federal background checks.
“In practice, federal law is just the floor of restrictions on gun shows,” said Larry Keane, NSSF’s general counsel, in a blog post published Monday. “Many gun show promoters require that all vendors leasing space at a show, including private parties, must agree to run background checks, regardless of whether they hold federal licenses or not. The vast majority of guns sold at gun shows go through federal background checks.”
The newspaper reports the instructions appeared in an article entitled “Just Terror Tactics,” published in the group’s most recent issue of Rumiyah, described as a “glossy, multilingual propaganda magazine.” In it, the author advises would-be terrorists to avoid background checks through gun shows and private sales — and if all else fails, rob a gun store.
“The acquisition of firearms can be very simple depending on one’s geographical location,” the piece read, per the Washington Post. “In most U.S. states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales — by way of private dealers — with no background checks, and without requiring either an ID or a gun license.”
“With approximately 5,000 gun shows taking place annually within the United States,” the piece continued, “the acquisition of firearms becomes a very easy matter.”
Keane said criminals don’t buy firearms at gun shows, citing a Department of Justice statistic that found less than one percent of state and federal inmates obtained guns this way. The department says about 40 percent get guns through illegal means, such as theft.
ISIS goes so far as to suggest ambushing and robbing an FFL if it’s not possible to obtain a firearm legally,” Keane said. “If it were as easy to get a firearm illegally as the article suggests, why would they need to steal guns?”
The newspaper cites multiple interviews with ISIS recruits who claim the terrorist organization advises ways to exploit American gun laws.
“They say the Americans are dumb — they have open gun policies” one recruit told the New York Times from a German prison in August 2016. “They say we can radicalize them easily, and if they have no prior record, they can buy guns, so we don’t need to have a contact man who has to provide guns for them.”
In a 2013 video, an al-Qaeda spokesman encouraged recruits to patron gun shows where “fully automatic assault rifles” can be bought without a background check.
“The terrorists are wrong again,” Keane said. “Even in a private party transaction, it is illegal to purchase an automatic firearm without a special ATF license and plenty of red tape.”
“One would think that the Washington Post would be more concerned about the sources it uses for its reporting,” Keane concluded. “We wonder if ISIS has written about how to fool the mainstream media.”