Just days before Omar Mateen killed 49 people at Pulse Nightclub, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., President Barack Obama warned he can’t prevent sympathizers of the Islamic State (ISIS) from buying guns in the United States.
It was less than two weeks ago that Barack Obama addressed PBS town hall audience about gun ownership, gun laws and the threat of U.S. citizens sympathizing with ISIS.
The president was asked why he wants to “control and restrict” guns and ammunition from “the good guys, instead of holding the bad guys accountable for their actions.”
“First of all, the notion that I or Hillary or Democrats, or whoever you want to choose, are hell-bent on taking away folks’ guns is just not true — and I don’t care how many times the NRA (National Rifle Association) says it,” Obama said, addressing the town hall on June 1.
WATCH: Obama: Orlando shooting treated as ‘terror investigation’
Obama compared gun ownership to vehicle fatalities and having a driver’s license.
“If you buy a car … you got to get a license. You have to take a test. People have to know that you know how to drive. You don’t have to do any of that with respect to buying a gun,” the president said.
“I just came from a meeting today in the Situation Room in which I’ve got people who we know have been on ISIL websites, living here in the United States, U.S. citizens, 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 those people from buying a gun,” Obama said.
“If he wants to walk into a gun store or a gun show right now and buy as many weapons and ammo as he can, nothing is prohibiting him from doing that, even though the FBI knows who that person is,” Obama said at the town hall.
On Monday, law enforcement officials said they were looking into whether Mateen had connections to radical Islamic terrorism.
WATCH: Obama says Orlando attack ‘could have happened anywhere’ in the U.S.
A law enforcement official told the Associated Press the gunman made a 911 call from the club in which he professed allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The official was familiar with the investigation, but was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The extremist group did not officially claim responsibility for the attack, but the IS-run Aamaq news agency cited an unnamed source as saying the attack was carried out by an Islamic State fighter.
Officials said Mateen used an AR-15 rifle and a Glock handgun during the rampage and both weapons were legally purchased.
–with a file from the Associated Press