The FBI on three occasions investigated the activities of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, and he was on a watch list and even briefly surveilled, but that didn't stop him from buying a semi-automatic rifle and a 9 mm pistol in the past two weeks in advance of Sunday's horrific early morning shooting that left 50 innocent souls at a gay nightclub dead.
The fact that a man who was twice on the terror watch list and expressed praise as a 14-year-old for terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center so easily bought a semi-automatic rifle specifically designed to kill humans is infuriating to say the very least.
Admittedly the logistics of putting this into practice is daunting. According to politifact.com, in 2011, an FBI fact sheet said there were 420,000 people on the terror watch list. Current estimates have put the list at around 700,000. Since the database pulls information from U.S. and global agencies, only a relative handful - about 8,400 in 2011 and likely around 10,000 as recently as December - are American citizens or legal residents.
That said, it's maddening that a man three times interviewed by the feds could so easily buy such high-powered weapons.
Politifact found that 91 percent of suspected terrorist looking to buy guns were able to do so.
We have felons in this country who drove without a license three times who can't buy a gun, yet we have suspected terrorists interviewed by the FBI three times who can. There's something wrong with this picture.
Many Republicans have been steadfast against such a list, because some people who are on the terror watch shouldn't be three, they say, and don't even know they're on it.
I would agree with much of what they say, but there should be protocols established among those who have had multiple interactions with the FBI that would allow for additional screening and perhaps rejection when applying for gun ownership, especially semi-automatic assault weapons.