Jeh Johnson, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, stated on Tuesday that passing gun control law is now “part and parcel of homeland security” during an interview on the CBS This Morning show. Johnson brazenly stated that recent events have indicated that new gun laws need to be passed to prevent homegrown terrorists from obtaining firearms. Johnson argues that there are “ways to get at meaningful, responsible gun control” while critics argue he is leading us towards a nation of defenseless targets and is using a national tragedy as a catalyst.
Johnson made these anti-gun statements for the first time in his career following the Orlando Terror attack that left 49 people dead. He argues that homegrown terrorists like Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter that purchased the weapons used in the attack through legal channels, need to be restricted from purchasing firearms. When the left-leaning host of the show, Gayle King, asked Johnson what it would take to “move the needle when it comes to control” he responded by saying:
“You’re asking me about gun control. I am not anxious to plunge into yet another difficult, contentious issue like the ones I already have, I do believe, however, that meaningful, responsible gun control is now part and parcel of homeland security. It’s critical to public safety, but we have to face the fact that meaningful, responsible gun control has to be part of homeland security as well, given the prospect of homegrown, home-born violent extremism in this country.”
Johnson’s sudden change in gun control policy echo’s a statement made by Barack Obama on Monday. While discussing the fight against terrorism in foreign countries and the possibility of homegrown terrorists Obama pushed for additional restrictions that would prevent people on the terror watch list from purchasing weapons.
Johnson’s statements were almost a full regurgitation of the statements made by Obama. Johnson stated.
“We need to do something to minimize the opportunities for terrorists to get a gun in this country, This is now something that is critical to homeland security as well as public safety.”
Critics argue that, while the notion of taking guns out of the hands of terrorists is a noble cause, enacting stricter gun control laws will have the opposite effect. Disarming American citizens, while terrorist still have access to weapons through illegal channels, will not prevent future terrorist attacks.
They further argue that banning anyone on a government “watch list” could lead to non-threatening American citizens having their Second Amendment rights trampled on in the name of national security. They point out that government lists are not always accurate and that citizens are added indiscriminately as soon as a government official, who may have inaccurate information, deems a citizen a threat. The possibility of these lists being abused to disarm innocent American citizens is a very real threat.
The National Rifle Association also criticized the notion of increased gun laws pointing to the San Bernardino terrorist attack that wasn’t prevented by California’s “assault weapons” ban, the Brussles attack that wasn’t stopped by the gun ban in Brussels and the two attacks on Paris that weren’t prevented by strict gun control in laws in France.