President Obama suggested the equivalent of a no-fly list for guns on Wednesday, saying that people who are suspected of being terrorist sympathizers should be denied the right to bear arms even if they are not convicted or accused of a crime.
"We've got people who we know have been on ISIL websites living here in the United States, U.S. citizens," Obama said during a PBS NewsHour appearance, using an acronym for the Islamic State terror group. "And we're allowed to put them on the no-fly list when it comes to airlines, but because of the National Rifle Association I cannot prohibit them from buying a gun."
President Barack Obama’s statement came in response to an audience member who asked why he supported policies to restrict firearm access for law-abiding citizens.
"Why then do you and Hillary want to control and restrict and limit gun manufacturers, gun owners, and the responsible use of guns and ammunition to the rest of us, the good guys, instead of holding the bad guys responsible for their actions?" the man asked.
The man pointed out that Chicago, Obama’s former home town, has some of the highest levels of gun violence in the nation despite its stringent gun laws.
Obama responded that Democrats do not want to limit access to firearms, although many of the policies they support would in fact have that effect.
"First of all, the notion that I, or Hillary, or Democrats, or whoever you want to choose, are hellbent on taking away folks’ guns is just not true. And I don’t care how many times the NRA says it."
The president compared gun control laws to rules of the road that reduced the number of fatalities from car accidents. He did not address the dramatic decrease in gun violence and gun accidents that has occurred the past few decades despite relaxed gun control in many jurisdictions.
Obama said the only way to pass common sense gun laws is "if we don’t have a situation in which anything that is proposed is viewed as some tyrannical destruction of the Second Amendment."