‘There Has to be a Change': Local Experts Describe How to Reduce Terror Threat

Experts say regulating military grade assault rifles can limit the number of casualties in a shooting

While the FBI says there is no active or specific credible threat to San Diego or the local LGBT community, in the wake of the deadly Orlando shooting experts say there are things that can be done to reduce the risk of a mass shooting.

“ISIS changed tactics,” UC San Diego professor and terrorism expert Eli Berman told NBC 7. “The access to people who could be radicalized over the Internet continues. The Europeans are very much at risk and we’re at risk in the United States, too. That’s not going to change any time soon, I don’t think.”

Berman explained that instead of just defending itself ISIS wants to provoke Europe and the United States.

Chuck LaBella, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California, said there should be a ‘no buy’ list in the same way there is a ‘no fly’ list for people who want to purchase guns. 

“There has to be a change,” LaBella told NBC 7. “If someone’s…under suspicion for something like terrorism, or domestic violence or something like that, [where a] weapon would be germane…why wouldn’t there be a period where before they’re sold a weapon they’re questioned by the FBI?…If you put someone on a ‘no buy’ list they get a hearing and that’s what it’s all about in the U.S., due process.”

Labella also pointed out that no constitutional amendment is absolute.

“You cannot go into a theater and yell 'fire.' You’ll get convicted every day of the week for that, and if you use freedom of speech as a defense you’ll lose every time. The right to bear arms is not absolute. You can regulate it.”

Professor Berman said while it’s difficult to defend against lone-wolf attackers, citizens can speak up when they see or hear something that doesn’t seem right.

“If you hear hate speech and somebody’s talking about weapons...then that’s the time to say something,” Berman said. “The trick is not to stop them from ‘being’…They’re out there. The trick is to identify them and deny them access to weapons that make them very, very dangerous.”

He also explained that military grade assault weapon regulation can limit the number of casualties.

“Denying the attackers access to weapons is an effective way of reducing the loss of life,” he explained. “An AR-15 is a military grade rifle…Do we really want our enemies to have access to weapons that are that lethal? It’s not a hunting rifle. It’s an assault weapon.”

Contact Us