As Americans mourn a mass shooting in Orlando that left 49 dead and more injured, Ithaca’s politicians have taken up a contentious national debate on the necessity of policy amendments to positions on immigration, gun control and the war on terror.
Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) released a statement on Tuesday condemning the attack and advocating combatting the country’s “real enemy,” radical Islamic terrorism.
“We care about keeping Americans safe from all threats, both foreign and domestic,” Reed said in a statement. “To accomplish this objective, we must proactively engage and defeat the real enemy: radical Islamic terrorism. It’s only right that we come together to secure our borders and work with the international community to stop the threat of radical jihad before it reaches our shores.”
Reed’s response was not sufficient for Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09, who posted a video on his Facebook page of President Obama lamenting U.S. policy that allows suspected terrorists, who are on the no-fly list, to purchase assault weapons. Myrick called on Reed to take steps to address what many senators have since dubbed a “terrorist loophole.”
“Congress can change that [policy]. Congress must change that,” Myrick said after the attack. “I’ve ordered all flags in the City of Ithaca to half mast in remembrance of the victims of hatred, terror and weapons of mass destruction in Orlando. The City of Ithaca will forever stand with our LGBTQI family.”
Reed’s challenger in the November election, John Plumb (D-NY), joined in attacking Reed’s reaction to the attack, saying that although he is an avid hunter, he believes the country must focus on modifying current gun laws.
“It is totally disingenuous for Congressman Tom Reed to claim his priority is the safety of American citizens when he stands so firm in his belief that suspected terrorists should be able to legally buy guns in the United States,” Plumb said.
Plumb added that — although he has no intention on infringing upon the Second Amendment — he believes in a “common sense proposal” to keep terrorists from buying guns.
“This is about keeping weapons out of the hands of suspected terrorists — something even the NRA agrees should be one piece to a much larger response to fighting our enemies abroad and at home,” Plumb said. “I’ve taken an oath to protect and defend our country — but unlike Tom Reed, I will never turn my back on that promise.”
Reed recently refused to support legislation to close the current loophole allowing terrorists to buy guns and has previously refused support for legislation that would have kept individuals on watch lists from purchasing weapons, according to an email from John Plumb for Congress.