During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont asked Department of Homeland Secretary (DHS) Jeh Johnson whether the fact that terrorists can get a hold of “powerful firearms” presented a “significant security vulnerability.” Here’s how Secretary Johnson responded:
“I believe that sensible gun control consistent with the 2nd Amendment and consistent with a responsible gun owner’s right to own a gun is a matter of homeland security.
“When you look at what happened in Orlando and you look at what happened in San Bernardino and the weapons used there by what appeared to have been ISIL-inspired terrorists, I believe that we should face the fact that we need to make it harder for terrorists to get a gun in this country. And I know that there is legislation and legislative ideas pending in this Congress to do exactly that.
“I hope we can find a way consistent with the 2nd Amendment to make it harder for a terrorist to buy a gun in this country. It is a weapon of—an instrument of terrorism, and those determined to commit terrorist acts on our homeland are taking advantage of that, and so I believe it’s a matter of homeland security that we address this.”
Senator Leahy mentioned that at least one member of Al-Qaeda has pointed to the so-called “gun show loophole” as a way for other terrorists to obtain used firearms in the US.
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He asked Secretary Johnson whether it’s clear that other terrorists around the world are aware of our “weak gun laws.” Johnson responded:
“I believe they are, and I read such literature that you referred to as recently as this week, and we know from past practice that the literature put out by al Qaeda and ISIL that is disseminated in this country is acted upon and followed. There are sad examples of that.”