Cal Thomas: Disconnect in gun control debate

  • By Cal Thomas
  • Tuesday, June 21, 2016 9:54am
  • Opinion

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) recently disclosed that a congressional investigation has found at least 72 employees of the Department of Homeland Security listed on the U.S. terrorist watch list.

In other news, President Obama used a memorial service for the victims of the Orlando massacre to advocate for more gun control laws. Anyone else see a contradiction in these two items?

Interviewers frequently ask me why I don’t favor more gun control laws. My response: Name one law that deters someone intent on breaking the law. Murder has been prohibited since the beginning of civilization, but people still murder. One might as well outlaw human nature.

Only those predisposed to obey laws will obey them. Florida prohibits openly carrying firearms and many places advertise “gun-free zones,” which can be an open invitation to anyone intent on mass murder. The Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, reportedly visited Pulse nightclub several times before breaking its gun-free zone policy. That night, he entered the club with an assault rifle and entered into a gun battle with the club’s security guard, an off-duty police officer. He then retreated to a bathroom, taking hostages. Had Mateen cased the place? Did he know the guard would be the only one standing in his way? It would appear so.

Despite the president’s claim to the contrary, it is reasonable to believe that even a small number of armed patrons might have limited the number of fatalities. And had the shooter known he would encounter armed patrons perhaps he might not have chosen that particular club as his target.

More gun laws are not the answer. Britain has some of the toughest gun laws in the world, but that did not stop a deranged man from shooting and stabbing to death Labour MP Jo Cox.

Omar Mateen was a radical Muslim who pledged his allegiance to ISIS. Why do so many of us find it hard to accept that Islamists want to kill us as part of a strategy to create a worldwide caliphate? And why is the president adopting their language by using the term ISIL, which stands for the “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,” a larger area of the Middle East that includes Lebanon, Jordan and Syria? The president uses their terminology, but refuses to say “Islamic terrorism,” while continuing to allow thousands of Syrian refugees into America when authorities say there are so many that they can’t conduct proper background checks.

The answer to the first question is political correctness. The owner of the gun store where Mateen purchased his rifle says he also asked about body armor. When Mateen left the store, someone contacted the FBI. The follow-up, however, proved insufficient.

James Kallstrom, a former FBI assistant director, recently spoke with Megyn Kelly on her Fox News show. Kallstrom told Kelly that orders have come down from the White House that the bureau cannot investigate ‘anything to do with Muslims’ and agents are “petrified” of losing their jobs if they do.

Islamists could not have a better friend in the White House had they put one of their own there.

The media and liberal activists have returned to their default positions, of course. New York Times columnist Charles Blow blames conservative Christians and their biblical doctrines on marriage, sexuality, even evolution for fomenting “hate” against LGBT people, a hate that, supposedly, propelled Mateen toward mass homicide.

Truth is often a casualty in politics, but in a presidential election year it has become a mass casualty.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

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