Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said yesterday that gun control measures wouldn’t have stopped the Orlando mass shooting. Proposed gun control measures would strip people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list of their 2nd Amendment rights; However, Paul said those measures wouldn’t have stopped Omar Mateen from killing fifty people.
“It wouldn’t have stopped the Orlando killer — no, he wasn’t on the list,” Paul said.
In response to Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) leading a 15-hour filibuster for gun control, Paul had nothing to say, instead asking why the FBI stopped investigating Mateen.
“The facts are he wasn’t on the list. Why wasn’t he on the list? Well, they closed the investigation. Well, then why did they close the investigation?” Paul asked. “At least once or twice he said he was going to kill people int he name of a version of his religion. He happened to know a suicide bomber — not many of us know a suicide bomber, or will get to know one — and traveled to Saudi Arabia.”
Paul acknowledged that the law was “difficult.” He wasn’t advocating for stripping people on the list of their rights, but instead arguing that there was a difference between a conviction and an investigation.
“You’ve got all these things adding up and then they closed the investigation? So I asked the director of the FBI yesterday, I said, I’m not here to make accusations—I said ‘you are fallible, I am fallible,’” Paul said. “You make mistakes, we all make mistakes. It’s not really something where I’m saying ‘the FBI did a rotten job when they closed this,’ but shouldn’t we at least ask: What would have happened had the investigation stayed open?”
In Kentucky, Paul is facing reelection. His opponent, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, blasted him for allowing “suspected terrorists” to purchase weapons.
“How many headlines like this do we need to see before Congress does something?” asked Gray during a rally outside of Paul’s Lexington field office. “Senator Paul voted to let potential terrorists buy guns. He chose to protect the rights of radical Islam over the safety of innocent Americans. What was Rand Paul thinking? Where is his common sense? Where’s the backbone?”
Paul shot back, saying that he voted for a measure which would “let federal law-enforcement officials delay gun sales to suspected terrorists for up to 72 hours.” The measure would also block the sale permanently if officials presented enough evidence to justify it to a judge.
“In December, I voted to make sure no terrorist can buy guns in the U.S.,” Paul said in a statement. “The legislation I supported, however, prevented the Obama administration from drawing up a secret list of hundreds of thousands or even millions of Americans who, through no judicial process, are stripped of their rights. Make no mistake, what Jim Gray and President Obama want to do together is take guns away from law-abiding Kentuckians.”