domestic terrorist attacks carried out with guns are on the rise in the U.S., and that guns are the most lethal weapons terrorists use.
But all three killers used semiautomatic guns, which research has shown are more lethal on average in terrorist attacks than explosives or other weapons.
And all three managed to kill and injure more people than the terrorist who mailed homemade pipe bombs to high-profile targets in October.
Domestic terrorists such as the mass shooters in Thousand Oaks, Pittsburgh and Parkland, Fla., come from different demographic backgrounds and have different characteristics.
The Pittsburgh shooter had no criminal record and used weapons that were legally purchased and registered in his name.
From 2002 to 2014, 85% of people murdered by terrorists in the U.S. were killed with guns.
The three most lethal domestic terrorist attacks since 9/11—the 2016 Pulse Nightclub attack in Florida, the 2015 San Bernardino shooting and the 2009 attack on Ft. Hood Texas—were all carried out with high-capacity semiautomatic weapons.
Domestic terrorists are increasingly exploiting lax gun laws.
Even when the FBI does a background check and finds that someone with terrorism ties is attempting to purchase a gun, it almost always allows them to complete the purchase
strengthen the FBI's ability to put and keep individuals on the federal terror watch list, and to grant the agency the authority to deny the sale of semiautomatic guns to people on that list.
But terrorists can evade the watch list by buying a gun online or at a gun show. They can also get less-suspicious accomplices to privately sell them weapons, as the San Bernardino attackers did.
many aspiring mass killers, including the Pittsburgh and Parkland shooters, still wouldn't end up on the list at all.
Congress would have to legally mandate universal background checks for any gun purchase and create a federal registry for certain types of semiautomatics.
But though it might catch known terrorist sympathizers and affiliates, U.S. citizens would probably slip through, since they are unlikely to be on terror watch lists.
A prohibition on sales of particularly lethal semiautomatics, such as the 1994 assault weapon ban, and on related assault weapon technologies
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