- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 5, 2015

President Obama used the suspected terrorist attack in California to push for gun-control measures on Saturday, saying the mass shooting is a reminder that “in America it’s way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun.”

For the first time, Mr. Obama also referred to the mass shooting in San Bernardino as “an act of terror.”

“We may not be able to prevent every tragedy, but—at a bare minimum—we shouldn’t be making it so easy for potential terrorists or criminals to get their hands on a gun that they could use against Americans,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address.

Administration officials are looking for more executive actions that Mr. Obama can take without Congress to restrict gun ownership. The president criticized congressional Republicans for blocking an amendment Thursday that would bar people on the government’s “no fly” terrorism watch list from purchasing firearms.

“Right now, people on the no-fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun.  That is insane,” Mr. Obama said. “If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun.  And so I’m calling on Congress to close this loophole, now.”

The FBI said Friday it is investigating the San Bernardino shootings as an act of terrorism. Authorities have not indicated inthat the killers, Syed R. Farook, 28, and wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, were on any no-fly lists. The guns they used to kill 14 people at a social services center were purchased legally.


SEE ALSO: Evidence of San Bernardino killers’ ‘radicalization,’ but no known terror cell ties: FBI director


California has some of the nation’s strictest gun regulations, including a ban on semi-automatic firearms and universal background checks on all gun purchases.

Authorities also revealed Friday that Malik, a Pakistani citizen who grew up in Saudi Arabia, pledged her allegiance to the Islamic State in a post on Facebook as the attack was unfolding.

The president, who earlier said the shootings may have been a case of workplace violence, said in his address that it is “entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror.”

“If so, it would underscore a threat we’ve been focused on for years—the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies,” Mr. Obama said. “We know that [the Islamic State] and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people—around the world and in our country—to commit terrible acts of violence, often times as lone wolf actors.”

He said all Americans “need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.”

Rep. Candice Miller, Michigan Republican and vice chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in the GOP’s weekly address that the U.S. must enact legislation to tighten security in a program that allows millions of foreigners to enter the U.S. annually without a visa. She noted that the mastermind of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris was a citizen of Belgium, which participates in the visa waiver program.

“We have a major weakness in our visa-waiver program—a glaring hole that we have to close,” she said. “The members of [the Islamic State] will use every means within their power to attack our country. And that’s why we have to use every mean within our power to defend it. We cannot afford to wait. We must act now.”

The administration took steps earlier this week to tighten security in the visa waiver program and is supporting legislation that would do the same.

The House bill, which will be voted on next week, would ban anyone who has traveled to Syria, Iraq, Sudan or Iran since the beginning of Syria’s civil war in March 2011 from being eligible for the visa waiver program. Senate legislation places specific restrictions only on people who have traveled to Iraq and Syria within the last five years.

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