Al Queda, YouTube and its link to gun-control: How easily available assault weapons are a boon to terrorists, and why Constitutional Originalism may be to blame
By Oralia Valencia
The gun control debate continues as Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey agree to an amendment regarding background checks on gun purchases.
During the announcement of the amendment, Senator Manchin released an Al Qaeda video from 2011.
“What are you waiting for?” asks Adam Gadahn, American-born and raised in California.
Now an Al Qaeda spokesman who produced a YouTube video, Gadahn encourages militants to accumulate assault rifles as they are plentiful and easy to acquire. He emphasizes the lack of background checks at gun shows as an opportunity.
“You could go to your local convention center and buy guns without a background check and most likely without having to show an identification card,” Gadahn said.
In previously produced videos, Gadahn has explained that assault rifles are easier to obtain and require less technical skills than bombs for planned acts of terror.
Federal law requires background checks by licensed gun dealers, yet there are no background checks required for purchases of firearms at gun shows. Proposed gun control legislation out of the Senate will mandate that background checks will become a new requirement for purchases at gun shows.
The new amendment to gun control legislation is a result of a new agreement between Senators Joe Manchin (D – WV) and Pat Tommey (R – Pa) to bring awareness to a potential Al Qaeda threat from lax gun laws.
The senators brought attention to the video during Joe Scarborough’s Morning Joe news program. The video brings attention to the potential risks of terrorism that can result from lenient gun laws in the United States.
The intention of bringing awareness to the video is a means to garner support for the gun safety, gun control debate that is scheduled to take place in the Senate this week.
The reminder of the existence of the 2011 video focuses attention to the question of whether or not background checks should be required, as there is a threat terrorists can acquire and use assault weapons against Americans.
I think the video raises an even larger existential question: Does the protection of an individual’s second amendment right to bear arms become a national security dilemma for the United States at large?
Non-state actors foreign and domestic who desire to engage in terror in the United States by waging wars of Jihad against capitalism and American exceptionalism pose a far greater risk than a tyrannical United States government.
Globalization has created a tremendous amount of wealth as free-market capitalism modeled by the United States has been replicated around the world, establishing wealth creation where little existed previously.
Many nations around our globe have enjoyed the migration of capitalism from the west to developing nations, but the benefits have not come without cost.
Terrorism has migrated from the Middle East to the United States; tactics employed by terrorists abroad can and could become the modus operandi in America, as we saw in Boston this week. Tactics once used in Baghdad were used to disrupt the Boston Marathon, taking three lives and wounding over a hundred others. As capitalism has evolved to become more efficient, so has terrorism.
During the attack at the American embassy on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, terrorists there used assault rifles, hand grenades, portable missile launchers and home-made bombs. The increased use of military style assault rifles may become the new method of choice for Al Qaeda and other non-state foreign actors of the 21st century.
When the framers and founders wrote the second amendment to the United States Constitution, their priority at the time was protection from a federal government that could become tyrannical – the priority was not foreign invaders. They established the second amendment as a solution for citizens to reclaim control of their sovereignty from a tyrannical central government.
Since the Cold War, most wars have occurred within nation states in the form insurgencies, rather than wars between nations. Today, a new adaptation to war is the presence of non state actors who seek to engage in wars within free-market societies.
Their desire is not to conquer property and resources; they are deconstructionists who seek to dismantle modernity.
Terrorists may be enticed to leverage American Constitutional originalism, thinking that the United States Constitution should be narrowly interpreted literally and protected at all cost.
The opportunity for terrorism lies in America’s priority on individual freedom to live in the Wild West, rather than place a priority in the protection of the majority of unarmed Americans. Gun rights activists obstruction of gun laws may enable emerging methods of terror employed by domestic and foreign terrorist.
I shutter to think if Wayne La Pierre, Vice President of the NRA, were to respond to an Al Qaeda video in a similar way he responded to the shootings in Newtown Connecticut. He could proclaim such lunacy as the solution to a terrorist with a bomb is a good guy with a bomb.
The United States needs to adapt to new security dilemmas developed with the spread of globalization. In light of attempts to stick to our founder’s “original” intent, we may consider the words of Thomas Jefferson in 1816.
“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind,” Jefferson said. “As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”
Developing security threats may require that Americans consider their world in the 21st century when interpreting a document written in the 18th century.