Rand Paul addresses the Sunshine Summit in Orlando, FL on Nov. 14, 2015.
John Raoux—AP
By Sen. Rand Paul
December 9, 2015
IDEAS
Paul is the junior U.S. Senator for Kentucky.

In his Oval Office address Sunday night, President Obama continued his failure of leadership and his outrageous quest to turn a necessary discussion on terrorism and national security into an unnecessary and ineffective gun control debate.

Let’s be clear: disarming more law abiding citizens will not stop mass murderers and terrorists.

President Obama often refers to Australia as a gun control success story. The problem is that the statistics prove otherwise. Between 1996 – 1997, Australia gained control of over 600,000 civilian guns. The country’s murder and manslaughter rates remained the same, while its armed robbery rate actually increased by nearly 10 percent. In 2003, the Australian government took possession of 50,000 more firearms, but its crime statistics still hardly budged.

The truth is that the increasing use of guns in the United States has made our country safer. Though the number of firearms in the U.S. has increased by over 50 percent since 1993, our gun homicide rate has decreased by nearly 50 percent.

The worst thing we could do for our national security is further trample on our civilians’ Second Amendment rights. Instead, we should be doing the opposite — advocating for more concealed carry ability for law-abiding Americans and an end to unconstitutional gun free zones.

Second, we must fully examine and reform our border security, including refugee and visa programs. While the President paid lip service to this fight, he plans to keep the failed current rules in place and allow tens of thousands of refugees to enter our country.

I couldn’t disagree more strongly. Today, the question is not whether the U.S. accepts refugees. It’s whether the U.S. takes refugees at this time under these conditions. We can and should accept refugees, but not until they can be properly screened.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, we currently do not have access to any type of database in Syria to track these refugees’ criminal records. As a result, over 90 percent of Syrian refugee applicants are approved, some of whom could possibly be allied with ISIS. At least one of the terrorists responsible for the Paris attack is surmised to have entered Europe as a refugee. In light of this, it should not surprise anyone that multiple Syrian refugees have reported seeing suspected ISIS fighters in their midst.

For our national security’s sake, immigration, visas and refugees from countries with active terror networks must be halted while we determine how to better secure our borders and our people.

Finally, we must stop doing the same foolish things overseas that the President advocated for throughout his remarks.

In his remarks, Obama promised the administration will continue to flounder without a comprehensive strategy to combat ISIS. Specifically, Obama vowed to continue the failed status quo of arming the allies of ISIS. ISIS’s power is reinforced by the staggering arsenal that the movement has taken from the fleeing Iraqi and Syrian army — including tanks, Humvees and major artillery — and Obama wants to send more arms to the allies of ISIS.

Obama has undertaken military action against ISIS for over a year and only wants to continue his failed policies that are the reason we fight against the very weapons U.S. taxpayers bought.

We must stop arming and training allies of ISIS and al Qaeda. We must arm our allies the Kurds and insist on Arab boots on the ground for our allies in the region.

Obama also said he wants cooperation with Russia without indicating how he hopes to achieve this. As long as Obama is unwavering in calling for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s removal from power, there’s realistically very little cooperation to be had with the Russians.

We need a comprehensive strategy to combat ISIS, not only in Syria but around the world. The Obama administration’s fixation on the Syrian civil war as the cause and solution to ISIS is actually detrimental to destroying ISIS. ISIS is a threat that has gone well beyond Syria’s borders, into places like Libya, Egypt, France, and — as we saw last week — even the U.S.

There are answers here to make our nation safe, but once again the President seems incapable of finding them. His administration is focused on enacting gun laws that won’t stop terrorists while it continues to push policies that will let more of them into the country.

To defeat radical Islam once and for all, America must have confidence in our constitutional republic, our leadership and our values. I will do everything I can to protect and uphold the liberty of all Americans, all while making the country stronger and safer.

 

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