Hillary Clinton appeared on ABC News’s “This Week” on December 6. Interviewed by former White House advisor George Stephanopoulos – who worked under President Bill Clinton – Clinton was asked to reflect on the December 2 terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, California, and its implications for national security and 2nd Amendment rights. She drew equivlanece between the attacks inspired by foreign-inspired Muslim extremism, and mass murders committed by deranged individuals. Stephanopolous noted in advance of the interview that he once worked in the Clinton White House and has made "charitable contributions" to the Clinton Foundation.
Stephanopoulos noted that despite facing California’s gun control laws, the strictest in the United States, the husband-and-wife terrorist duo were able to obtain firearms to carry out their deadly attack. Clinton made bold to say “…what happened in San Bernardino was a terrorist act. Nobody is arguing with that. The law enforcement, FBI have come to that conclusion. And let's not forget, though, a week before we had an American assault on Planned Parenthood and some weeks before that we had an assault at a community college. So I don’t see these two as in anyway contradictory.”
Arguing for even tighter gun controls, Clinton said, “We have to up our game against terrorists abroad and at home and we have to take account of the fact that our gun laws and the easy access to those guns by people who shouldn't get them, mentally ill people, fugitives, felons and the Congress continuing to refuse to prohibit people on the no-fly list from getting guns, which include a lot of domestic and international terrorists, these are two parts of the same approach that I'm taking to make us safe.”
Clinton called for some of the same restrictions that have become a hallmark for Democrats during the current election cycle: “comprehensive background checks,” closing the “gun show loophole” and “online loophole,” but increasing liability costs for gun sellers. She also called for closing the so-called “Charleston loophole,” which would end the current the "default proceed" rule. Currently, federally licensed firearms dealers who have initiated a background check can sell a firearm if no contrary notice has been received from the FBI within three business days. Clinton also spoke in favor of prohibiting individuals on the so-called “no-fly list” from purchasing firearms.
Clinton denounced Donald Trump for comments he made on December 5 in which he urged Americans to arm themselves as a response to Muslim terrorism. She said, “Well, he also went on -- and don’t forget he said this, George. He said, that way, we can take out the Muslims. He said that, OK? This is the kind of deplorable, not only hateful response to a legitimate security issue but it is giving aid and comfort to ISIS and other radical jihadists.”
Noting that thousands of Americans are buying guns in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist incident, Clinton said “I just want people to understand some of the threats we now face, whether it's the guy in Charleston, who should have never have been given a gun but the universal background check was not fast enough, didn't find the fact he was prohibited, went into the church and killed nine innocent people, we should be able to approach both of these with some sense of, you know, unity about how we prevent terrorist attacks and how we prevent the wrong people from getting a hold of guns.”
In the case of the weapons used by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the two pistols and two AR-15 rifles they used were purchased legally. Farook based a background check for the purchase of the pistols, while the two long guns he apparently borrowed from another party. As for Malik, a Pakistani national who came to the U.S. on a K-1 fiancée visa, a State Department background check that was done in advance of granting the visa has already been found faulty. It has emerged since the shootings that State Department diplomats failed to determine that the home address given by Malik in Pakistan was non-existent.
On December 5, the FBI raided a home in Riverside, California, on a street where Farook used to reside. The domicile belongs to Enrique Marquez, a friend of Farook. who purchased the AR-15 style rifles used in the shooting. Marquez, however, is not considered a suspect.
Following the attack, Farook's family expressed consternation. Farook's sister, Saira Khan, told CBS News, "I can never imagine my brother or my sister-in-law doing something like this, especially because they were happily married, they had a beautiful six-month-old daughter."