According to Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson, the agency, which is tasked with preventing terrorism within the United States, will be looking into gun control as a matter of national security.
“When it comes to protecting the United States from the threat of terrorism, gun control is now a critical component… I do believe, however, that meaningful, responsible gun control is now part and parcel of homeland security,” said Johnson on Tuesday.
“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 continued.
The statements quickly drew criticism from those worried about government overreach, as they argue the behemoth agency was neither intended for such measures, nor would such actions be constitutionally sound.
Proponents of gun control have renewed their cries for increased scrutiny and legislation in the wake of Sunday’s terrorist attack, however, many Americans are not convinced.
Speaking on the matter in a USA Today op-ed, executive director of the National Rifle Association Chris Cox pointed out that strict gun laws have failed to prevent terrorist attacks in the past.
“Radical Islamic terrorists are not deterred by gun control laws… The San Bernardino terrorist attack wasn’t stopped by California’s so-called ‘assault weapons’ ban. The gun ban in Brussels didn’t prevent the terrorist attack there. And France’s strict gun control didn’t stop the two attacks in Paris, committed with fully-automatic rifles and grenades,” said Cox.
Conservative pundits have further pointed out that political correctness within intelligence communities, not gun laws, ultimately bears responsibility for the attack.
This, they claim, is evidenced by the fact that Mateen was initially on a terror watch list, yet had his name cleared following two FBI interviews.
Some conservatives are also distrustful of the agency’s intentions, as a 2009 DHS briefing expressed its intention to classify “right-wing extremists” as terrorism threats, creating concerns that political opponents of a leftist administration could be expressly targeted.
Such concerns seem possible in light of previous administration scandals, such as those stemming from the IRS, where conservative groups were singled out for intense scrutiny.
It should also be noted that while the terrorist attack in Orlando was the deadliest since 9/11, the worst attack in our nation’s history resulted from planes hijacked with box cutters.