We don’t yet know the motive behind yesterday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., but here is something we do know:
Two of the guns recovered were bought by one of the suspects killed in the shootout, and the other two were bought by a third person who is not considered a suspect, said a senior federal law enforcement official, who was spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We believe all four were purchased legally, but are still taking a close look at the two firearms bought by the” person who is not a suspect, the official said.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed that it had traced all four guns, and that two were purchased legally by someone linked to the investigation. But neither the senior official nor the bureau would identify either buyer by name, nor say which two weapons were bought by a suspect, or where they were bought.
Officials said the two assault rifles were variants of the AR-15, the semiautomatic version of the military M-16 rifle; one was made by DPMS Panther Arms, and the other was a Smith & Wesson M&P model, a designation meaning military and police. The senior law enforcement official said one handgun was made by Llama, and the other by Smith and Wesson.
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After the terrorist attacks in Paris in November, I did an interview with one of the Detroit news radio stations, and one of the questions they asked was whether something like that could happen here. I was asked the same question after the Charlie Hebdo attack.
Of course it can. Everything you need to carry out an attack can be easily, and legally, acquired in the United States. We make it easy.