For Release: Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Al Qaeda: “America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms…So what are you waiting for?”
Washington, DC–In a letter (See http://vpc.org/lettertoobama.pdf) sent today to the White House, America’s five national gun violence prevention (GVP) organizations–the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Violence Policy Center, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Legal Community Against Violence, and States United to Prevent Gun Violence–as well as 14 state and regional GVP groups strongly urged President Barack Obama to take action to strengthen America’s gun laws to prevent terrorists from following through on threats to launch deadly attacks with firearms on U.S. soil. The catalyst for the letter was a chilling video released on the Internet last Friday urging Al Qaeda followers to undertake terrorist attacks in the U.S. using firearms. The video message features Adam Gadahn, an American-born member of the terrorist group, urging followers to immediately launch violent acts of jihad by exploiting the firepower available on the U.S. civilian gun market and the weaknesses in U.S. gun laws and the federal background check system.
According to Gadahn: “America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely, without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?”
In the letter, the organizations urge President Obama to act now to prevent such terrorist attacks and specifically call on the President to:
“[O]rder an immediate and thorough review of steps the Administration can take in the short term to reduce the firepower available on the civilian gun market, to tighten existing laws regulating the gun industry, and to improve the background check system to make it harder for those with terrorist ties to obtain firearms.”
The groups also urge President Obama “to call on Congress to convene extensive, serious hearings to explore and identify the legislative steps that ultimately must be taken if a small arms terrorist attack is to be prevented.”
The letter to the President details warnings from terrorism experts and U.S. government officials of potential attacks by firearm-wielding terrorists, including a warning from an FBI official in 2009 citing the commando-style terror attacks in Mumbai, India, on November 26, 2008.
About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.