Orlando Attacks a Reminder that Defeating ISIS is a Matter of National Security
By Senator Mike Rounds
In the wake of the Orlando terrorist attack, I remain focused on national security and the best approach to protect Americans from those who wish to do us harm. We know the Orlando terrorist held extremist views and pledged allegiance to ISIS. ISIS leaders applauded the attack and almost immediately took credit for it. This underscores my belief that in order to prevent terrorists from attacking our citizens, we must defeat and destroy Islamic extremism that supports and perpetuates terrorism.
Unfortunately, some in Congress have tried to politicize the Orlando attack and make this about gun restrictions. No one wants terrorists to have guns, but any legislation to prevent them from accessing firearms must first and foremost protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
Recently, the Senate voted on two amendments that would keep our right to bear arms intact while also temporarily delaying individuals on the terror watch list from buying guns, giving prosecutors ample time to do an investigation and make certain he or she poses no harm to the public. This would make sure the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens remain protected while actually stopping terrorists from accessing guns. Unfortunately, these common-sense proposals were rejected by Senate Democrats, the very ones participating in unruly sit-ins and staging pseudo-filibusters in the name of stopping these senseless attacks. Rather than working with us on these sensible solutions, they have chosen to advance the political agenda of the far left.
Additionally, recognizing that we are at war with jihadists, we must work together to clearly define a plan of more than half-measures to defeat ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups that spread violence and seek to destroy America. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, we hear time and time again about the growing dangers of ISIS and other extremist groups in the Middle East. Yet the president continues to say that ISIS is shrinking. In reality, ISIS maintains significant strength in Syria and elsewhere, and its message has inspired attacks in Orlando, Paris, San Bernardino, Istanbul and many other places all over the world. CIA Director John Brennan recently testified in front of Congress, saying “Despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach.” It is clear that the president’s current course of limited action is not working.
The best way to prevent ISIS-inspired attacks here at home is to defeat ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups which spread hate and perpetuate violence against our country. To truly stop these attacks, the president should listen to his advisors and give counter-terrorism and military leaders the tools they need to stop these attacks before they happen.
The Senate will continue to debate ways to better protect our country in the coming days and weeks. I will consider legislation that would actually prevent dangerous terrorists from inflicting harm, but under no circumstances do I believe that we should deny due process to any American citizen.