President Obama has appealed to the Congress to reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB). In the aftermath of the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting, he has also stressed the need for stricter gun laws that make it harder for suspected terrorists to legally obtain fireworks.
U.S. President Barack Obama urged Congress to reconsider the federal ban on assault weapons that was allowed to expire in 2004. Additionally, he appealed lawmakers to pass a bill that would make it a lot harder for people on the federal watch list to procure firearms, reported ABC News. Essentially, the president has asked Congress to reconsider the “No Fly, No Buy” legislation,
“People with possible ties to terrorism who are not allowed on a plane shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun.”
In simple words, the president wants the “No Fly” list to be considered while conducting the mandatory background check before a person is allowed to purchase a firearm in the United States. If passed, the legislation would prohibit the sale of assault weapons to people who are on the “No Fly” list maintained by the federal government. At present, the list isn’t referred while conducting the checks.
The “No Fly” list has always been considered a yardstick for identifying people who are suspected to have links with terror networks but haven’t committed any crimes. The list is amended and maintained by the United States government’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). The list contains the identities of people who aren’t allowed to board a commercial aircraft and are prohibited from traveling out of the United States. While the exact number keeps varying according to threat perception and intelligence reports, there are at least 50,000 people on the list.
Gun advocates have often criticized the list and its applicability for stricter gun laws because there have been many instances of “false positives,” where the names of innocent civilians have been found.
The federal ban on assault weapon was a powerful deterrent, Obama said.
“Reinstate the assault weapons plan. Make it harder for terrorists to use these weapons to kill us. Enough talking about being tough on terrorism. Actually be tough on terrorism.
“Otherwise, despite extraordinary efforts, despite all the sacrifices that folks make, these kinds of events are going to keep on happening. And the weapons are only going to get more powerful.”
The federal ban on the assault weapons that President Obama is referring to was considered one of the most effective ways to restrict the sale of deadly weapons. Passed in 1994, the laws prohibited manufacturers from making certain semi-automatic firearms as well as ammunition magazines for sale to the general public. However, despite proving effective, the ban was allowed to expire in 2004. Many experts insist the law was deliberately allowed to lapse following intense lobbying by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
It is apparent that the president wanted the sale of weapons like AR-15 to be severely restricted. A modified version of M-16, the AR-15 has proven to be a very popular assault rifle currently on sale in the United States. With over three million in circulation, the AR-15 has been the favorite choice of mass murderers as well.
Incidentally, the debate about gun control has been reignited after the deadly Orlando shooting, but quite a few people lament that the discussions may not proceed much further due to the overzealous support to the Second Amendment.
Apart from appealing to the Congress to reinstate the weapons ban, the president made it clear that he wasn’t entertaining the notion of terming the violence perpetrated by ISIS and its operatives as “radical Islam,” reported USA Today. He justified his stand by pointing out that by calling acts of terror by any other name doesn’t help and only serves in creating a distraction.
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