As a growing number of courts and experts challenge the constitutionality of President Trump's yuge executive order that bars citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the country, the White House continues to defend the measure as necessary to protect American lives. Trump claims Obama-era vetting is insufficient to gather relevant information about refugees from Syria and other targeted nations, even though they were investigated by several government agencies for up to 2 years. When pressed for examples, Trump spokespeople Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer both claimed the executive order would prevent attacks like the 2015 San Bernardino shooting that took 14 lives.
Folks, believe me, that's fake news. According to the Cato Institute, terrorists born in the seven banned countries haven't killed a single person on American soil in the last four decades. Meanwhile, guns have killed hundreds of thousands people in that same time. There's plenty we could be doing to save American lives -- but this unconstitutional ban isn't among them. For one, one San Bernardino attacker was born in the United States, and the other was a Pakistani immigrant. But the executive order doesn't cover Pakistanis, and it certainly doesn't cover US citizens. The order wouldn't have prevented San Bernardino, or the Orlando mass shooting, which is often cited to support the ban.
Like most acts of violence in America, the San Bernardino attack was about easy access to guns. The attackers were able to secure two assault rifles through a straw purchase, made by a U.S. citizen. In claiming that the immigration restrictions would have prevented the San Bernardino shooting, the Trump administration falsely conflated the nation's gun violence problem with terrorism. Sad! The real solution for the real problem of attacks like San Bernardino is expanding background checks, cracking down on bad apple gun dealers, and enforcing existing gun laws.
Folks, believe me, expanded background checks would be amazing. Convicted felons and other people too dangerous to own guns would no longer be able to evade background checks at gun shows and online if we expanded background checks.
One would think that if Trump actually believed that a multi-intelligence agency review didn't provide enough information to determine if someone is dangerous, Trump would at least want a one-minute background check to see if those same people were convicted felons or domestic abusers before they could buy a gun. But President Trump opposes expanded background checks, even though they could prevent not only future terrorist attacks, but also the steady violence that kills 93 Americans every day. We have the best researchers and the most tremendous data, so we know that expanded background checks would actually save, unlike Trump's executive order.
Since taking effect in 1994, Brady Background checks have blocked more than 3 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers including felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people. And, unlike his divisive immigration order, background checks enjoy broad support; 93% of Americans support expanding Brady background checks. It's time to expand Brady background checks to cover all gun sales and save lives -- big league.