Johnson: Gun control ‘part and parcel’ of homeland security

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/jeh-johnson-gun-control-224304

When it comes to protecting the United States from the threat of terrorism, gun control is now a critical component, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Tuesday."I am not anxious to plunge into yet another difficult, contentious issue like the ones I already have. I do believe, however, that meaningful, responsible gun control is now part and parcel of homeland security," Johnson said on "CBS This Morning." "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. We’ve seen this now with Orlando, tragically, with San Bernardino. It’s something that I think the American public and the Congress has to face and has to address."As the Cabinet secretary charged with protecting the domestic United States, Johnson said, "I believe that meaningful, responsible gun control is part of homeland security. It is something we have to address.""I have not talked about gun control publicly at this point," Johnson said, repeating, "I think that we have to face the facts that gun control is part and parcel of homeland security and how things are evolving."Johnson said there are "ways to get at meaningful, responsible gun control" without infringing upon the Second Amendment or the right of responsible gun owners to possess firearms."We need to do something to minimize the opportunities for terrorists to get a gun in this country," Johnson said. "This is now something that is critical to homeland security as well as public safety."Johnson’s comments echo those of President Barack Obama on Monday, as he discussed the multifaceted fight against terrorism in the U.S. and abroad."We are also going to have to have to make sure that we think about the risks we are willing to take by being so lax in how we make very powerful firearms available to people in this country," Obama said. "And this is something that obviously I’ve talked about for a very long time. My concern is that we start getting into a debate, as has happened in the past, which is an either/or debate. And the suggestion is either we think about something as terrorism and we ignore the problems with easy access to firearms, or it’s all about firearms and we ignore the role — the very real role that that organizations like ISIL have in generating extremist views inside this country. And it’s not an either/or. It’s a both/and."Hillary Clinton likewise appealed for more gun restrictions during a national security-focused speech Monday in Cleveland. "We may have our disagreements on gun safety regulations, but we should all be able to agree on a few things. If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist links, you shouldn’t be able to just go buy a gun with no questions asked," the presumptive Democratic nominee remarked. "You shouldn’t be able to exploit loopholes and evade criminal background checks by buying online or at a gun show. And yes, if you’re too dangerous to get on a plane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun in America."Speaking later in Manchester, New Hampshire, Donald Trump claimed that Clinton would "abolish the Second Amendment" and leave "only the bad guys and terrorists with guns."The National Rifle Association, meanwhile, blasted the notion that increased gun laws would prevent future terrorist attacks."Radical Islamic terrorists are not deterred by gun control laws," Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Associations Institute for Legislative Action, wrote in a USA Today op-ed. "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."

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