Misplaced Priorities

It Takes Two Years To Come To The U.S. As A Refugee, But One Day To Buy A Gun

It Takes Two Years To Come To The U.S. As A Refugee, But One Day To Buy A Gun

Despite the fact that Omar Mateen—the gunman who killed 49 innocent people and injured another 53 in a gay club in Orlando—was born in the United States, Donald Trump wasted almost no time in blaming Sunday’s shooting on immigrants. Mateen is the child of immigrants from Afghanistan but, like Donald Trump, was born in New York.

After thanking people who said he was “right about radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump gave a speech on Monday in which he said, “thousands and thousands of people…many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer” are entering the country. In the same speech, he promised to ban immigration from all countries where he believes terrorism is a threat.

In addition to being both misleading and factually inaccurate, Trump’s anti-immigrant and Islamophobic rhetoric poses a threat to our national security. Hateful, divisive rhetoric, which has long been Trump’s calling card, plays into the hands of terrorists by instilling fear and promoting hostility towards innocent Muslims and those, such as Sikhs and Hindus, perceived to be Muslims in the U.S. As President Obama said this afternoon, “If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush…then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them.” Furthermore, Anti-Muslim rhetoric ignores the overwhelming response from the Muslim community that came after Orlando, and Brussels, and San Bernadino, and virtually every act of terror carried out by extremists. It also discounts the fact that there are 1.6 billion Muslims across the world and many are the primary victims of attacks from terror groups.

And by continuing to fear monger with anti-immigrant rhetoric and ignoring the role of lax gun laws, Trump is also painting a misleading picture of mass shootings. The reality is, it is much easier to buy a weapon of war in the United States than it is to immigrate here. To put things in perspective, it can take almost two years for a Syrian refugee to come in the United States but the longest possible wait period for purchasing a handgun in Florida is three days. Below is a breakdown of the difference between the screening process for refugees and gun buyers.


While coming to the U.S. as a Syrian refugee is just one of the many different ways an immigrant can come to the United States legally, every other possible pathway into the U.S. as an immigrant is significantly more stringent than the screening process required to legally purchase a gun in the U.S. For a full breakdown on the difference between immigrating to the U.S. and buying a firearm here read this.

BOTTOM LINE: Rather than focusing on meaningful solutions to the gun violence epidemic in the United States, Trump has parroted the same, hateful, anti-immigrant rhetoric that promotes hostility and fear and threatens our national security.

Like CAP Action on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.