Omar Mateen was able to purchase a gun legally after an FBI probe was closed. According to CBS Boston, Mateen waited until after the FBI closed their investigation and then went to a gun shop to buy an AR-15 and a Glock, no questions asked.
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 12, 2016
Despite being on the FBI Terror Watch List in 2013 and 2014, Omar Mateen was taken off the list after a 10-month investigation that the FBI says turned up no evidence that Mateen was a threat.
Had the FBI kept Mateen on the list, they would have been alerted when he purchased a gun.
After hearing this information, many people feel that the government dropped the ball here and that if the laws were changed, we may have been able to avoid the nightclub tragedy.
“I think the average person in the United States just thinks if you’re a suspect in a terrorism case you won’t be able to get a gun. Well that’s not the case right now and the law has to change to fix that,” said former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.
Omar Mateen bought his guns at a shop in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where he lived with his wife and child. Just two days before he went to an Orlando nightclub and opened fire, he went to a shooting range for target practice. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, a man who was at the range at the time spoke to the media and described a “wild shooting practice.”
“A man that was also practising [sic] at the St Lucie Shooting Centre range said Mateen was really loud and ‘shooting pretty hard and the cables holding the target came down — whether that was bad aim or a ricochet I don’t know.’ “
— Slate (@Slate) June 13, 2016
Omar Mateen was considered a regular at Pulse Nightclub and had been seen there by other patrons at least a dozen times before he walked in and killed 49 people and injured dozens more. Not surprisingly, Mateen isn’t the only former FBI terror suspect that has been removed from radar. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the man responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings (along with his younger brother, Dzhokhar) was also removed from the list before he carried out his plans, killing three people (not counting a fourth who was killed after the bombings) and injuring dozens more.
While it may not have been easy to track Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s pressure cooker purchases, many feel that had he been on an FBI Terror List, he may have been stopped. Caught. On someone’s radar.
Even still, Ed Davis says that there were “hundreds of terror leads tracked down every year in New England” when he was working for the city of Boston. He says that the FBI has more than 1,000 terror cases open at a time. Unfortunately, the FBI is forced to close the cases that don’t hold any sort of incriminating evidence. Davis says that a lack of resources forces these dead-end cases to be closed.
“If you put everyone on a terrorism case and didn’t have them do anything else, it would be impossible to follow all these people around. We don’t have the resources to open up an investigation into everyone there is and keep it open forever,” said Davis.
Do you think Omar Mateen should have stayed on the FBI Terror Watch List? Do you think that anyone who finds themselves on the terror watch list should stay on the list even if the FBI doesn’t uncover anything about them during their investigation?
[Image via handout photo]