Orlando massacre proves we need more alert gun shop owners

Jun 13, 2016, 5:33 AM | Updated: Jun 15, 2016, 9:30 am

The frustrating thing about the horrible mass shooting in Orlando was that the killer, Omar Mateen, had caught the FBI’s attention three years ago for talking with co-workers about terrorism.

But as CBS national security analyst Juan Zarate explains the FBI needs more than talk to make an arrest.

“People’s speech is not illegal, and if there isn’t movement toward criminality, the FBI can’t keep people on lists and can’t follow them around,” Zarate said.

Related: Seattle crowd attends vigil for 50 people killed at Orlando nightclub

Unfortunately, it turned out Mateen was perfect for the new ISIS recruitment strategy, which is to recruit the school shooter types, the mentally ill, people with dysfunctional families; people who are ready to kill, but need a religious excuse.

And I know we despair of doing anything about it. But these killers can be stopped. In fact it happened two-and-a-half months ago in Ohio when gun dealer John Downs refused to sell a rifle to 25-year-old James Howard, even though his background check came up clear. Downs told CBS’s Adrianna Diaz something just didn’t look right.

“Just the look in his eye. You really can’t explain it,” he said.

So he sent the guy away.

Turned out Howard was mentally ill, had tried to attack a man earlier that morning, and then had stormed off to buy a gun and kill people. But he didn’t, because a smart gun shop owner followed his gut. We could use a few more of those.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
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Orlando massacre proves we need more alert gun shop owners